USS Rotanin (AK-108) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

The USS Rotanin (AK-108), a Crater-class cargo ship was laid down on July 24, 1943, as SS William Kelly, under a Maritime Commission contract and launched on August 18, 1943. The ship was commissioned on November 23, 1943, under LT. William L. Howard, and served in the U.S. Navy for three years until it was decommissioned on April 5, 1946. During its activity, the ship carried a complement of 190 men on board and it had the main missions in the Asiatic-Pacific Theater and the Far East. For the services during World War II, the USS Rotanin earned one battle star. Asbestos has been used in almost every aspect of the maritime industry, from flooring and siding to engine and boiler rooms, gaskets, electrical work, and piping. Not only was asbestos insulation used in engine rooms, but it was also used to insulate pipe systems found throughout the ships, especially the larger ones. When ships came to port for refitting and repair, shipyard workers were charged with the task of quickly removing damaged components. This required ripping away hundreds of square yards of insulation without concern for physical protection, which was generally ignored as a requirement for asbestos exposure until up to about 1970.

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Shipmates on USS Rotanin (AK-108)

elias albert

william c. chance