Launched by the California Shipbuilding Company on January 26, 1944, the SS China Victory was christened as per both the European and the Chinese traditions. The members of the 233rd Engineer Combat Battalion and their gear were the first cargo of the SS China Victory as it headed for Guam to take part in the second battle for the island. Afterward, the SS China Victory transported troops during the battle of Leyte Gulf, the battle for Iwo Jima, culminating in Okinawa from April to late June 1945. Throughout her WWII career, she carried an estimated 35 tons of weapons and trucks and 650 tons of munitions with a little over 10 tons of cargo capacity. Laid down for a while after WWII, the SS China Victory returned to active service upon the beginning of the Korean War. Sold for civilian service, she retired in the Republic of China's territorial waters in 1972.
Used as heat and water insulation, asbestos lined much of the interior of this ship. It could be found in great quantity in the engine rooms, pump room, damage control room, and propulsion room. This material posed serious health risks to the people who worked aboard. Several diseases including asbestosis, mesothelioma, or lung cancer have been linked to this substance.