USS Hopewell (DD-681) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS Hopewell (DD-681) was a Fletcher-class destroyer in service of the United States Navy from 1943 to 1947 and from 1951 to 1970. It was launched by Bethlehem Shipbuilding, San Pedro, California on 2 May 1943; and commissioned at Terminal Island on 30 September 1943, with Commander Corbin. C. Shute in command. The ship was decommissioned on 2 January 1970 and sunk as a target on 11 February 1972. The wreck of Hopewell was located and dove on 12 February 2011 by the UB88 Project. To avoid fires at sea, various ship components were often covered with asbestos. Asbestos was used to insulate boilers, hot steam pipes, water and fuel lines to pumps, turbines, compressors, and condensers, as well as to create exhaust systems, connections, and manifold gaskets. Navy veterans recall working in the boiler and engine room compartments, repairing machinery and pipework. Throughout their shift, they were continuously exposed to asbestos which was clearly visible. While initially praised for its versatility, affordability, and resistance to heat, asbestos eventually becomes dangerous.

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Shipmates on USS Hopewell (DD-681)