Weather delays trip of battleship down California coast
The Navy's Vice Adm. Mark Skinner, left, and Robert Kent of the Pacific Battleship Center sign the donation transfer contract for the USS Iowa during a ceremony on Capitol Hill in April.
May 20th, 2012
01:23 PM ET

Weather delays trip of battleship down California coast

[Updated 1:23 p.m. ET] A weather system affecting the West Coast has delayed plans to tow the battleship Iowa from the San Francisco Bay to the Port of Los Angeles, the tow boat operator said in a statement on Sunday.

Crowley Maritime Corp. said all activities related to the movement of the Iowa will be rescheduled once the weather system passes later in the week.

[Posted 12:50 p.m. ET] The battleship Iowa begins what its expected to be its final voyage on Sunday, being towed from Richmond, California, south to San Pedro, where it will open as a museum this summer.

The ship, launched in 1942 and decommissioned in 1990, has been part of the mothballed fleet anchored in Northern California's Suisin Bay since 2001, according to a report in the Contra Costa Times. Efforts to turn it into a museum in the Bay Area were unsuccessful over the years, and it was acquired by the nonprofit Pacific Battleship Center for use as a museum in San Pedro, near Los Angeles.

“This is the final journey for the USS Iowa on open water,” Robert Kent, president of the Pacific Battleship Center, said in a statement on the organization's website. “Upon arrival at Los Angeles Harbor, the USS Iowa will be just days away from opening as an interactive museum experience that honors and illustrates the contributions of this battleship and its Navy and Marine crew at critical moments in American history.”

The 45,000-ton, 887-foot-long Iowa will be towed out of San Francisco Bay, passing under the Golden Gate Bridge between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Pacific time (6:30 and 7 p.m. ET) on Sunday.

A webcan has been mounted on an antenna above the ship's bow and video of the voyage will be streamed live. You can watch here.

The Iowa's journey down the California coast will take four days. Its public opening in San Pedro is set for July 7.

The Iowa is known as the "Battleship of Presidents" as it has hosted more commanders-in-chief than any other of its kind. It has a bathtub installed especially for President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1943.

The Iowa has three sister ships: the Missouri, which is a museum in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; the Wisconsin, a museum in Hampton Roads, Virginia; and the New Jersey, a museum on the Delaware River in New Jersey.

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Filed under: California • U.S. • U.S. Navy
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Don_5th Marines (USA)

    To "dou44":
    The US is a strategic naval power that has depended on the Navy (as well as our other military services) to safeguard our independence throughout our existence. Your comments regarding the Navy are beyond belief, and beyond stupidity. If we had it your way I'd suggest we all learn Chinese.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jj

      I visited the Iowa back in 1992. Absolutely beautiful ship with its wooden top deck.

      May 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Greg

    Well, becoming a museum is a much better fate than being scrapped. I live in Pasadena, so soon it will be a short trip to visit & appreciate this majestic battleship.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      This is exciting I can't wait for a chance to visit this museum. I have been land locked my whole life but I have seen the Patton museum and the USAF museum and the museum of science and industry and wether it was touching john glens capsule or standing on a german U-boat or seeing the tanks of wwII, seeing a battleship and standing on the deck is another dream and I want to stand on Iowa, Missouri, Jersey and Wisconsin. Awesome news and I can't wait !!!

      May 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Faxon

    This fine ship had no chance in leftist Marxist San Francisco. I am glad somebody appreciates it.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Someone

      You may want to mention that to the operators of the USS Pampanito, a Gato class submarine that has been open to the public in San Francisco Harbor for a number of years and the operators of the USS Hornet museum which is located on the East Bay.

      In other words – your comment is what I expect from some kind of conservative whose IQ can be measured on the fingers of one hand (not counting the thumb of course).

      May 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      I recall there being a few reasons San Francisco couldn't get it. One was that there were only a few areas with deep enough channels to put her. Vallejo was thrown in there but the city is/was bankrupt or something so she couldn't be put at the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard. I do remember some mention of San Francisco politics coming into play though. Something about putting a tribute to gays in the military or something on the ship that really turned the Iowa veterans off. It is glad to see the Iowa taken out of the mothball fleet where she was rotting and given new life in Los Angeles. When I am able to get back to Cali I'll definitely go check it out. Missouri is beautiful and I'm sure New Jersey and Wisconsin are as well. Those ships would still be some of the most powerful on the water today. Nothing like armor plate, triple hulls, and 16" guns!

      May 20, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. noly972

    I remember riding on her in the Mediterranean Sea when she became the temporary 6th Fleet flagship back in the 80's. She was a great ship and will be remembered fondly. If I ever get the chance, I'll visit the museum.

    May 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DBen

    5-20-12, 1:26 PM. The link "A webcan has been mounted on an antenna above the ship's bow and video of the voyage will be streamed live. You can watch here." isn't working.

    May 20, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • spammy

      http:// www . livestream . com/ussiowa Offline at the moment. Go Navy!

      May 20, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. spammy

    I like that they are not scrapping her. I wish they would keep the USS Enterprise as a museum. So much history in these ships!

    May 20, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Oh – yeah. Its nigh-criminal to scrap the Big-E after she survived so much. Can't believe it.

      May 20, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Aaron

    Don't forget about the USS North Carolina (BB-55) currently a museum on the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, NC.

    May 20, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Randy

    I spent 4 years and 3 months on the USS MISSOURI, and I loved every minute of it. The Battleships are awesome and I wish they were still in commission. The main reason they aren't is because they cost so much to operate, and the carriers made them obsolete. I remember when the #1 turret exploded on the Iowa, I was at sea on the Missouri when that happened.

    May 20, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Yard Dawg

    I am proud to be a shipbuilder who helped bring the IOWA out of mothballs in the 80s. She is a beautiful example of the blend of naval architecture and pure art. Her teak decks are stunning, built by master craftsmen ... truly breathtaking to behold. She is also the only battleship fitted with a bathtub, fitted especially for FDR. I hope everyone has a chance to admire this glorious memorial to freedom.

    May 20, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. George

    The sister ships mentioned in the article are from the same design and time frame. They are called the "Iowa Class" of battleships. The North Carolina was commissioned previously (1941). It has one sister ship, and together they represent the "North Carolina Class". There was another class of battleships called the "South Dakota Class" (4 ships) that came in between the North Carolina Class and the Iowa Class. The USS Texas (BB-35), the only surviving New York Class battleship, was commissioned in 1914, and is a museum located at San Jacinto, Texas. There are a total of 8 museum battleships in the United States.

    May 20, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David

    My son and I have seen the USS Wisconsin in Norfolk. Interesting to note that the bow of the Wisconsin was taken from the unfinished Kentucky, part of the same class. We also recently visited the USS Alabama. She and the Massachusetts are the only surviving members of the South Dakota Class. Neither ship had the range to engage Yamato or some of the German Battlecruisers with their longer ranging guns. The Iowa class was finally able to achieve parity with her 16 inch 50 caliber guns. They are a testament to the times when shear firepower and armor protection were necessary to wage war at sea. And the intense manpower required to operate her turrets is one of the reasons they are no longer in service.

    May 20, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Arthur58

    My family toured the Missouri (1970) when it was in Seattle. I believe 3-4 of the ships were modified to launch the Tommahawk missiles for the first Gulf War.

    May 20, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. NavyBuff

    This is an outstanding piece of history, I am so glad to see this happen. I have driven by Richmond and seen it anchored out in the bay, and was always saddened by it, what a waste! But now, all who desire can have a chance to see this magnificent ship and honor her service and crews... Ken

    May 20, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
  14. banasy©

    @Reality Checker:
    Yes, they do.

    May 20, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Vad

    This ship is literally of another era. Remarkable that these Battleships have fired their guns in combat as recent as the first Gulf War. I too would love to step foot on one of these pieces of history someday. It is almost a bridge between past and present naval conflict. God speed Iowa. May your new role as a museum serve to educate the present and future generations of the sacrafice endured by the sailors who served.

    May 20, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tracy


      I have been on the USS Midway in San Diego. Granted it served before my time...what majestic beauty she is. It's a shame San Diego could not or would not try to get the USS Iowa as a mate to the Midway (being San Diego is a Navy town). She would have been a great piece to the puzzle plus a wonderful museum piece for a wonderful Naval city. If you ever geet a chance to visit, do so as the Midway, and soon the Iowa, would be wonderful places to visit. Looking forward to visiting the Iowa.

      May 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
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