The ship was a Boulder Victory cargo ship built by the Permanente Metals Corporation in 1945 and had the dangerous mission of carrying goods to the troops in the Pacific War during World War II. During the same year, the ship transported over 6,000 pounds of goods to the people fighting in the Battle of Okinawa. When the war was over, it began being operated by the Luckenbach Steamship Co. Inc. Because it was built with large amounts of asbestos, everyone who was present aboard the SS Mercer Victory was exposed to the toxic mineral to a certain extent, which now places veterans at high risk of developing a serious disease, such as asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma. Asbestos exposure occurs when one inhales or ingests asbestos fibers, which are microscopic, from the air. Within 20 to 50 years, they may lead to the development of a disease, as they gradually cause inflammation and tissue scarring to the organ or tissue they attach themselves to. For this reason, it is very important for people who served aboard the SS Mercer Victory to undergo periodical medical examination, as diseases which stem from asbestos exposure are asymptomatic in their early phases. In 1988, the ship was scrapped.