SS John P. Gaines Areas With Asbestos Exposure

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. Subsequently, it was demonstrated by metallurgist Constance Tipper that the welded construction combined with the grade of steel used had caused embrittlement that caused a sudden break. A number of other Liberty ships suffered similar catastrophic fractures, with three sinkings. US Navy veterans who served from World War II 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.

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 P. Gaines

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