SS Montfort Stokes Areas With Asbestos Exposure

SS Montfort Stokes

The SS Montfort Stokes was a Liberty ship built at North Carolina Shipbuilding Company, Wilmington, North Carolina, during World War II. The cargo ship was named after Montfort Stokes, an American Democratic politician who served as both North Carolina's Governor and Senator. The SS Montfort Stokes was laid down on 16 July 1943, under a Maritime Commission contract, and launched on 14 August 1943. Because asbestos was relatively cheap, noncorrosive, nonconductive, heat-resistant, and in limitless supply, it was widely used in the Navy. Adding asbestos to ship manufacturing products significantly improved their strength, lightened their weight. Due to lack of ventilation in confined spaces below deck and failure to provide workers with personal respiratory protection, exposure levels compounded onboard navy vessels. As a result, Navy veterans are the largest group who suffer from asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma, asbestosis, and lung cancer. The SS Montfort Stokes survived the war and was sold into private ownership in 1947. She was scrapped in 1962.

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