One of the first Victory ships to be built under the Emergency Shipbuilding program by the California Shipbuilding Company was the SS New Zealand Victory. Its construction was completed on May 13, 1944. It served in the Pacific throughout World War II and continued delivering relief supplies under the Marshall plan to East Asia in the aftermath of the war. After being briefly laid up at Suisun Bay under the National Reserve Fleet, the SS New Zeeland Victory was recommissioned to serve in the Korean war in 1950. Between 1965 and 1973, the vessel served a number of civilian operators. It was scrapped in 1973 in Taiwan.
Like any other ship of its class, the SS New Zealand Victory (V-6) was built using asbestos. This mineral with great insulation capacity was heavily used throughout Navy ships. The cancer-causing mineral could have been found in all the vessel's compartments but certain areas, such as the engine rooms, the propulsion room, and boiler room posed a higher risk of exposure for the crew. Whoever worked aboard a Victory ship for prolonged periods could have inhaled the hazardous asbestos fibers that have been linked to severe lung illnesses such as asbestosis, cancer, or mesothelioma.