The SS T. A. Johnston was a Liberty ship built at J.A. Jones Construction, Panama City, Florida, during World War II. The ship was initially laid down on 22 April 1944, under a Maritime Commission contract, after a fire on the way warped the hull though it had to be scrapped. A new hull was laid down seven months later and would go on to set a shipyard record of 29 days on the way when she was launched on 13 December 1944. On 10 July 1970, the SS T. A. Johnston was sold to Union Minerals & Alloys Corp., to be scrapped. Because of its fireproofing and heat resistant capability, asbestos was virtually incorporated in more than 300 asbestos-containing materials used in naval ships until the late-1970s. Even after the Navy banned the use of asbestos, navy personnel continued to be exposed during the abatement and repair process. Many of the navy ships built with asbestos-containing materials continued to operate for decades exposing navy personnel to asbestos every day. The task of removing ship components in older vessels becomes more dangerous as the materials become more fragile over time and the risk of exposure increases when asbestos-containing materials crumbled and release microscopic asbestos dust particles.