As the nineteenth Victory ship built by the California Shipbuilding Company in 1944 under the Emergency Shipbuilding program, the SS Durham Victory was operated by Agwilines Inc. One of the missions of the ship was to carry supplies to the people who were fighting in the Pacific War. It also transported 6,000 pounds of ammunition for the Liberation of the Philippines and the Battle of Leyte, which was a very dangerous operation. For the outstanding activity of the SS Durham Victory, the ship received two battle stars for combat action. In 1946, the SS Durham Victory was sold to the Netherlands, which subsequently sold it to Panama, and was eventually scrapped in Taiwan in 1972.
Since it was laid down before 1980, the ship had a large number of asbestos products aboard, exposure to which posed a great health threat to all military personnel serving on the SS Durham Victory. By inhaling or ingesting asbestos fibers on a regular basis, the shipmen's risk to develop a series of serious respiratory diseases such as lung cancer, asbestosis, or mesothelioma dramatically increased.