The USS Croatan (CVE-14) was a Bogue-class escort aircraft carrier laid down on September 5, 1941, and launched on April 4, the following year. It was commissioned on February 20, 1943, as HMS Fencer with the hull number D-64 under the United Kingdom’s flag and served in the Royal Navy for 3 years until it was transferred back to the U.S. Navy on December 11, 1946. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 646 men on board. After the decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy Register on January 28, 1947, and scrapped in 1975 in La Spezia, Italy.
Asbestos was used in materials such as insulation, gaskets, some filters, packing, plastic materials, and so on; these materials were to contain a certain percentage of asbestos to increase durability and to minimize flammability. According to former Naval officials, a destroyer - a warship intended to escort larger vessels in a fleet, convoy or battle group and defend them against powerful short-range attackers, carried 24 to 30 long tons of thermal insulation. Virtually every pipe and many of the ventilation ducts on the ships were covered with asbestos insulation.