SS Charles Henderson Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The SS Charles Henderson was a Liberty Ship built in the United States and operated by the Mississippi Shipping Company from New Orleans under a WSA contract. The ship suffered heavy damage after it collided with another ship near Cape Henlopen in Delaware and caught fire in the process. The crew suffered one casualty and 4 others were severely wounded. The SS Charles Henderson later took part in the Normandy Invasion in June 1944. Near the end of the war, the vessel delivered aircraft bombs to Bary, Italy where it suffered an accident and caused one of the largest ammunition catastrophes of World War II. The ship’s cargo ignited while it was being unloaded, resulting in 542 fatalities and 1800 injuries. The only crewman of the ship that survived was the chief engineer who was on land at the time. If left undisturbed, asbestos-containing material do not pose a significant danger of releasing asbestos fibers into the air you breathe. However, these materials are hazardous when they deteriorate or are disturbed, such as when they are sawn, drilled, sanded, or crushed. Maintenance and repair jobs that were unavoidable for the good functioning of a Navy ship favored the release of asbestos fibers, which are extremely fine and can stay in the air for hours.

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Shipmates on SS Charles Henderson