The SS James Iredell was a Liberty Ship built during World War II. It was laid down by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company in Wilmington. The vessel suffered minor damage while cruising as part of a convoy in 1943. Shortly after its repairs, the ship was bombed near Naples and had to be abandoned without suffering any human casualties. Several months later, it was deliberately sunk as a blockship near Omaha Beach.
Hundreds of thousands of shipbuilders were tasked with using asbestos as insulation and fireproofing in more than 300 types of materials that were then used on ships. This level of exposure, combined with the severe lack of protection provided to workers, meant that many of these men and women developed serious asbestos-related diseases such as lung cancer, bronchial cancer, mesothelioma, plus many other types of pulmonary issues such as asbestosis, lung scarring, pulmonary fibrosis, COPD, emphysema, pleural effusion, pleural thickening, pleural plaques, and rounded atelectasis among many others.