SS Samleyte (MC-2355) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

SS Samleyte (MC-2355)

The USS Samleyte was laid down on the 7th of March 1944 and launched a month after, on Hitler’s birthday (April 20). She bears the yard number of 140, but like all Liberty ships named after a “Sam” – who might or might not be the same person who lends his name to the Leyte Gulf in this case – she is transferred to the British Ministry of War Transportation (MoWT) after completion. She will sail under the Union Jack from the 29th of April 1944 until the beginning of November 1947, when she is handed back to the US to be laid upon the James River as part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet near Lee Hall in Virginia. While there, she was used for experiments involving cathode protection as a preservation method for ships, but her days of being prevented from rusting will end in 1959, when sold for scrap.

While serving, the crew on the Samleyte might have had more important things to worry about than rust; like German U-boat attacks, storms, and also asbestos exposure. This toxic mineral saw liberal use in the construction of nearly all ships of the time, for lining various bits and pieces that were under threat from high heat or corrosion.

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