The SS Peter Silvester was an American merchant marine ship built for the United States Maritime Commission, at California Shipbuilding Corp. The ship named after Peter Silvester, an American politician who was a member of the United States House of Representatives from New York, and a prominent Federalist attorney in Kinderhook, was laid down on 31 March 1942 and launched on 27 May 1942. On February 6, 1945, the SS Peter Silvester was torpedoed and sunk by the German submarine U-862 off the coast of Australia in the Indian Ocean. 33 crewmen aboard the ship died and 142 were eventually rescued. At the time of its sinking, the ship was carrying 2,700 tons of US Army supplies, in addition to 317 mules bound for Burma, a country in Southeast Asia. Asbestos was a popular material within shipyards, used to insulate hulls, pipes, incinerators, and boilers and in materials such as gaskets, valves, and cement throughout the ship. Those who also worked near or in the vicinity of those who repaired and maintained asbestos-containing materials were at risk high for exposure to asbestos fibers.