The SS John P. Gaines was a World War II Liberty ship built in 1943 by the Northland Transportation Company, Seattle. The ship was named after John Pollard Gaines, a U.S. military and political figure. On 24 November 1943, the Liberty Ship SS John P. Gaines broke in two and sank 100 miles off the Alaska coast during a storm. Historical records say that the seas were storming and the constant action of the swells bent the hull up and down until it failed. Due to weight at the ends and the center empty, the ship was doomed. Of the 100 members of the crew, navy gun crew, and some army personnel, 10 lives were lost. A number of other Liberty ships suffered similar catastrophic fractures, with three sinkings. US Navy veterans who served between World War II and the late-1970s faced not only the deadly threat from the enemy but tragically from the asbestos onboard their own ships also. Hundreds of ships were built with asbestos materials, leaving millions of veterans and shipyard workers at risk of exposure and later developing asbestos-related illnesses.