List of Navy Ships that Used Asbestos
Not one Navy ship built in the five decades before and after World War II was without asbestos products.
Despite health warnings circulating through the Navy Department, almost all Navy personnel and support workers were exposed to airborne asbestos fibers. That included shore workers in shipyards as well as at-sea sailors.
By the 1980s, the United States Navy stopped using asbestos products in shipbuilding except for slight exceptions where airborne fiber release could be controlled.
The U.S. Navy began an abatement program to remove or contain asbestos-containing products in all Navy vessels.
Many had such extensive networks of asbestos-containing components that it was more practical to sink the ships as target practice rather than strip and refit these aging vessels.
Aircraft carriers are warships that serve as an airbase for the Navy while at sea. Every United States Navy aircraft carrier built from the 1930s until the 1980s contained tons of asbestos-containing materials. Some of the big carriers contained nearly 1,000 tons of asbestos.
The Navy used auxiliary ships to support combat ships and other naval operations. Like other Navy ships, these ships contained large amounts of asbestos to help protect Navy personnel who served aboard them, especially in combat situations.
At one time, battleships were the U.S. Navy’s backbone. These huge armored vessels formed the core of naval battle fleets and rained devastating firepower on enemy ships and shore batteries.
But battleships were also targets for opposing naval forces and subject to direct shell strikes. To protect the ships and sailors from fire, the Navy demanded that most interior parts of a battleship be coated in asbestos.
Navy cruisers are warships capable of great flexibility and in modern times, are often one of the largest ships in a fleet.
These essential ships contained tons of asbestos to take advantage of the mineral’s fireproofing and insulation properties.
United States Navy destroyers play a critical role in the military’s offensive and defensive tactics. The powerful ships protect the nation’s coastlines and provide a significant advantage during wartime.
While destroyers ensure the safety of America, their widespread use of asbestos before the 1980s has since endangered the lives of many veterans who have served the nation.
The military built Navy frigates with many asbestos-containing components during a time when the extent of asbestos’ dangers was not known. Asbestos was used widely in insulation and machinery on these ships until the discovery of its health risks.
After the knowledge of asbestos’ danger became widespread, there were efforts to remove it from the United States Navy frigates, but the damage had already been done — hosts of Navy workers had been exposed to asbestos-containing products.
From World War II onwards, Navy minesweepers played an essential role in destroying sea mines and creating safe paths through the ocean.
However, due to how these ships were constructed, many sailors and workers were put at risk of developing mesothelioma from asbestos exposure.
Submarines have a long history of use in the United States Navy as a lethal weapon of war. Submarines built before the 1980s contain asbestos throughout the vessel.
Navy veterans who served onboard submarines or who worked during their construction may have been exposed to asbestos, causing mesothelioma or other illnesses.
Other Ships That Used Asbestos
Many other Navy ships widely used asbestos-containing products.
Asbestos-containing products were extensively used on these ship types:
- Ammunition freighters
- Amphibious assault craft
- Destroyer escorts
- Escort carriers
- Explosives freighters
- Hospital vessels
- Landing craft
- Liberty ships
- Merchant marine ships
- Oilers and tankers
- Patrol boats
- Troop carriers
When the Navy finally began to remove asbestos products from the ships in the early 1980s, it was too late for thousands of Navy veterans who were already exposed.
Navy veterans who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease after their service are encouraged to contact a lawyer to learn how they may be able to access financial compensation.