The SS James B. Duke was a Liberty-class ship that was built by the U.S. to be used for war operations during World War II. It was named after the founder of the American Tobacco Company and establisher of the Duke Endowment, James Buchanan Duke. The ship was built under a Maritime Commission contract by J.A. Jones Construction in Brunswick, Georgia, and launched in June 1944. After launch, the SS James B. Duke was transferred to Wessel Duval & Company to be operated during the war. It was laid up in the reserve fleet at Mobile, Alabama, and later transferred to Beaumont, Texas. The potential harm that can be caused by asbestos is something that every person should recognize. Asbestos was dubbed the ‘magic mineral’ because of its amazing properties as an insulating and fire-resistant material. It is composed of silicate fibers finer than human hair, which are easily inhaled and can lodge deep in the lungs – leading to cancer. While its use is strictly regulated, asbestos was widely used in the shipbuilding industry from the 1930s. You could find friable asbestos in products like the thermal insulation for pipes, the insulation for a water heater, joint compounds, ceiling tiles, different types of plasters and wallboards.