The Los Angeles Harbor Commission has unanimously approved a resolution that supports a non-profit group’s bid to bring the USS Iowa, the last available Iowa-class battleship, to Berth 87 along the Port’s Main Channel. The supportive resolution states that environmental assessments and financial benchmarks will be part of the steps required to bring the proposed visitor attraction to the Port. The Port and the Pacific Battleship Center will work collaboratively on the process.
“Los Angeles is the perfect place for this majestic battleship,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “Docking the USS Iowa at the Port of Los Angeles would be a reminder to visitors of the vital role that the Port has played for the United States Navy during the 20th Century and would serve as a poignant monument to the sacrifices of the brave Navy men and women who have served our country.”
“We’re glad to be a part of this historic effort to find a permanent and appropriate home for the Iowa,” said Harbor Commission President Cindy Miscikowski. “While there are still issues that need to be addressed, the Harbor Commission’s action today makes it clear that we are committed to assisting the Pacific Battleship Center make this vision a reality.”
Commissioned in 1943, the 887-foot-long warship – about three football fields long – is the namesake of the Iowa class battleships launched by the United States during World War II. The others – the USS Missouri, USS New Jersey and USS Wisconsin – are all currently floating museums. Nicknamed the “Big Stick,” the Iowa was used to shuttle President Franklin D. Roosevelt across the Atlantic Ocean.
Outfitted with nine 16-inch guns and 20 five-inch guns, the battleship took part in every major military operation from World War II until it was decommissioned for the last time in 1990. It is now berthed with the National Defense Reserve Fleet at Suisun Bay near San Francisco. The Pacific Battleship Center’s goal is to create an interactive naval museum that honors and illustrates the contributions of the USS Iowa and its crew at important moments in American history.
Locating the Iowa at Berth 87 would result in the loss of the third cruise berth in the Inner Harbor and would require the Port to provide temporary facilities in the Outer Harbor at the existing Berths 45-47 wharf on days when three cruise ships call at the Port. The number of three-ship cruise calls generally ranges from three to six days per year. The cost of operating a temporary cruise terminal is about $52,500 per vessel call, a cost that would be absorbed by the Port. Cruise ship calls generate roughly $1 million in local and regional economic activity per visit.
The Port of Los Angeles is America’s premier port and has a strong commitment to developing innovative strategic and sustainable operations that benefit the economy as well as the quality of life for the region and the nation it serves. As the leading seaport in North America in terms of shipping container volume and cargo value, the Port generates 919,000 regional jobs and $39.1 billion in annual wages and tax revenues. A proprietary department of the City of Los Angeles, the Port is self-supporting and does not receive taxpayer dollars.