The SS Frederic C. Howe was a Liberty Ship built in the United States during World War II. The ship was laid down in August 1943 under a MARCOM contract by J.A. Jones Construction from Panama City, Florida, and allocated to United Fruit Co. in December. In October 1947, the ship was laid down in the reserve fleet at Lee Hall, Virginia, and sold for non-transportation use in June 1972.
Asbestos fibers can be vulnerable to slight pressure which can cause them to break apart and enter the air. These fibers are quite small and invisible to the naked eye. When asbestos fibers in the air are inhaled, they deposit into the lungs. Asbestos exposure can result in a variety of serious medical ailments including lung cancer, asbestosis, and mesothelioma. There may be no sign of these conditions for many years after the initial exposure to asbestos. In some instances, the latency period can be longer than 40 years.