SS John Morgan Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The SS John Morgan was a World War II Liberty ship built in 1943 by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation at their Bethlehem-Fairfield yard at Baltimore, Maryland. The ship was named after John Tyler Morgan, a U.S. Senator and general in the Confederate State Army during the American Civil War. The Liberty Ship SS John Morgan was on her maiden voyage when on June 1st, 1943, while approaching Newport News VA she collided with an outbound ship, the tanker SS Montana, off Cape Henry VA, while en route from Baltimore to the Persian Gulf with a cargo of explosives, in Convoy NK-544. The John Morgan split in two and exploded, and her stern sank almost immediately with all but three of her complement of 69. At the time of the collision, the ship was loaded with war supplies such as Valentine tanks, P-39 airplanes, machine guns and large amounts of ammunition. The ship lies largely broken up in approximately 110 ft of water. The bow and a structure known as the ‘hospital’ are still recognizable. Asbestos was so widely used throughout the Navy ships from bow to stern, in boiler and engine rooms and as insulation and protection around any heat-producing equipment. Exposure continued throughout the 1990s, as shipyards sold scrap pieces of asbestos-containing ships that were no longer in use.

High risk of asbestos exposure

  • Engine Rooms
  • Damage Control Room
  • Pump Room
  • Propulsion Room

Medium risk of asbestos exposure

  • Powder and Shot Magazine
  • Ward Room

Low risk of asbestos exposure

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Shipmates on SS John Morgan


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