The USS Anaqua (AN-40/YN-59), an Ailanthus-class net laying ship, was laid down on 16 December 1942 at Everett, Washington, by the Everett-Pacific Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company; launched on 16 August 1943; redesignated AN-40 and named Anaqua on 20 January 1944; placed in commission on 21 February 1944, and decommissioned on 7 February 1946, at San Pedro, California. The ship supported the United States Pacific Fleet with its protective anti-submarine nets and was able to come home safely at the end of World War II. Because of its low cost, high tensile strength, and thermal inertness, asbestos was employed in hundreds of products used on US Navy ships. If you were engaged in some way in the process of constructing or dismantling ships and vessels, or if you were a member of the Navy's crew, you may have been exposed to asbestos. Both activities resulted in the emission of asbestos fibers into the air. Breathing in asbestos fibers may lead to asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, among other diseases and conditions. The likelihood of developing these illnesses rises in direct proportion to the amount of fibers inhaled. Typically, the signs of these illnesses do not manifest until 15 to 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos has occurred.