The USS Gustafson (DE-182) was a Cannon-class destroyer escort laid down on July 5, 1943, and launched on October 3, the same year. It was commissioned on November 1, 1943, under Comdr. Herman Rich’s command with the hull number DE-182 and served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years until it was decommissioned on June 26, 1946. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 216 men on board and had its main missions in New York, Brazil, South America, Africa, Trinidad, and St. Helena Island. After the decommissioning, the ship was transferred to the Netherlands in 1950 where it was renamed HNLMS Van Ewijk. Most of the equipment used to power the USS Gustafson (DE-182) was made of mixtures containing large amounts of asbestos. Electrical components, gaskets, valves, boilers, pumps, turbines, engines, incinerators, had to be regularly inspected and repaired, leading to the inevitable disturbance of asbestos fibers. Anyone who served onboard the USS Gustafson (DE-182) or participated in its repair and overhaul was put at risk of developing severe illnesses like lung cancer, bronchial cancer, mesothelioma, esophageal cancer, throat cancer, gastrointestinal cancer, and colorectal cancer.