The SS Meriwether Lewis was a Liberty ship built during World War II. She was named after Meriwether Lewis, an American explorer, soldier, politician, and public administrator, best known for his role as the leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Liberty ships were a class of freighter ships used by the U.S. Navy to transport troops, goods and materials to and from combat areas. The SS Meriwether Lewis was laid down on 19 May 1941, under a Maritime Commission contract, and launched on 19 October 1941. Asbestos was extensively used in U. S. Navy shipboard pipe, machinery, thermal insulation and in many other shipboard products. Those working on SS Meriwether Lewis were unaware of the risks of using asbestos. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to an increased risk of several forms of cancer. On 3 March 1943, the SS Meriwether Lewis was torpedoed by in the North Atlantic Ocean, southwest of Iceland. By the time USCGC Ingham arrived at the site of the attack, all that was found was a 30-mile line of floating tires, with no survivors from her crew.