The SS Gustavus Victory was a Victory ship built at Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard in Baltimore, Maryland during World War II, and named for the Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota, which was named for the 17th century King of Sweden Gustav II Adolf. The SS Gustavus Victory was laid down on May 25, 1945, and launched near the end of the war, on July 9, 1945, and quickly converted into a troop transport for bringing back American GIs from Europe.
Because of their extremely useful properties – incombustibility, heat resistance, strength, flexibility, asbestos-containing materials were extensively used on Navy ships for insulation and fireproof qualities, throughout most of the 20th Century. Like many other Navy ships, the SS Gustavus Victory contained enormous amounts of asbestos products. Although a passenger ship, this might not have been the wisest decision by her operator, as the health of those on board was under constant threat from the asbestos dust that many parts of her were releasing.