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Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia sends SOS to care for historic ship

PHILADELPHIA — A Philadelphia maritime museum says it can no longer afford to care for a historic ship that served in the Spanish-American War.

The Independence Seaport Museum is seeking a new owner for the USS Olympia, whose guns fired the first shots at the Battle of Manila Bay in 1898.

The museum estimates it would cost up to $30 million to tow, restore, interpret and endow the deteriorating vessel.

Museum officials say they have spent $5.3 million on the ship since acquiring it in 1996. But they say efforts to attract further public and private funding have failed.

The Olympia, docked in the Delaware River, contains a collection of paintings, photographs and artifacts. The attraction will close in September.

Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer, www.philly.com