The SS William A. Graham, a Liberty ship constructed by the North Carolina Shipbuilding Company was launched on 26 July 1942 and served for a decade. This 441-foot steamship was operated by J.H. Winchester & Co. of New York. The ship was sold to be scrapped and dismantled by the Union Minerals and Alloys Corporation.
Asbestos was heavily used in building liberty ships because of its quality of insulation and heat resistance. There were high concentrations of asbestos in the engine rooms, boilers, and turbines. As a result, a countless number of sailors and shipyard workers were unknowingly exposed to microscopic asbestos fibers that remained in the lungs for years eventually leading to lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.