The SS Hobbs Victory, a cargo Victory ship was launched on January 9, 1945, and was built within 87 days. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 62 merchant marine and 28 US naval armed guards and had its main missions at Ulithi, Okinawa, and Kuba Island. The ship sank on April 6, 1945, at Kerama Islands, Okinawa while in battle. In the shipyards and across the shipbuilding industry asbestos was used in abundance to lag hot water pipes and steam pipes and to insulate boilers on ships.
Because of the very nature of the vessels, often those working as pipefitters and boiler engineers would be working in confined, poorly ventilated spaces, whilst working with asbestos. Other workers who worked in close proximity to those involved in asbestos lagging of pipes and boilers would also have been at high risk of exposure to asbestos fibers and dust – so painters, electricians, sheet metal workers, and general laborers would all be highly likely to run the risk of sufficient exposure to trigger asbestos-related diseases later in life.