The USS Estero (CVE-42) was a Bogue-class escort aircraft carrier laid down on October 31, 1942, and launched on March 22, the following year. It was commissioned on November 3, 1943, as HMS Premier with the hull number D-23 under the United Kingdom’s flag and served in the Royal Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on May 21, 1946. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 890 men on board. After the decommissioning, the ship was transferred back to the USA, struck from the Navy List on May 21, 1946, and sold for scrapping in Taiwan in 1974.
All branches of the military used asbestos particularly during World War II, but the U.S. Navy used asbestos extensively in shipbuilding, maintenance, and repair. Asbestos-containing materials can be found particularly in fire-prone areas such as ships’ engineering spaces, boiler rooms, and navigation rooms. Consequently, many Navy personnel assigned to refit or repair naval vessels were exposed before the health risks of asbestos were officially acknowledged in the mid-1970s.