The SS Stephen Furdek was a Liberty ship built at J.A. Jones Construction, Panama City, Florida, during World War II. She was named after Stephen Furdek, a Roman Catholic priest, a writer, and a co-founder of the First Catholic Slovak Union. The SS Stephen Furdek was laid down on 16 March 1944, under a Maritime Commission contract and launched on 28 April 1944. On 23 May 1944, the SS Stephen Furdek was allocated to Merchants & Miners Transportation Company. She was sold to Union Minerals & Alloys Corp., for scrapping, on 13 May 1970.
Asbestos was widely used throughout the armed forces of the United States, particularly in shipbuilding due to its excellent heat resistant properties and non-flammable nature. Therefore, many navy personnel have come into direct contact with asbestos over the past 50 years. It takes very little asbestos to create a hazard. Working with or in the proximity of friable asbestos-containing materials can cause exposures that are dangerous to life and health.