The SS Samarkand was a Liberty ship built at Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard, during World War II. The cargo ship was originally named after Peter Cooper, an American industrialist, inventor, philanthropist, and politician. The SS Samarkand was laid down on 24 July 1943, under a Maritime Commission contract, and launched as on 25 August 1943. Asbestos-containing materials were extensively used on Navy ships for insulation and fireproof qualities, throughout most of the 20th Century. The SS Samarkand, like many other Navy ships, contained enormous amounts of asbestos products. Because the dangers of asbestos were concealed by the manufacturers for decades, crew members were often exposed while performing routine maintenance tasks or while the ships were being repaired in dry dock. The SS Samarkand survived the war and was sold into private ownership in 1947. She was scrapped in 1971.