USS Seekonk (AOG-20) Areas With Asbestos Exposure

USS Seekonk (AOG-20)

The USS Seekonk (AOG-20) was a Mettawee-class gasoline tanker laid down in 1943 and launched on May 24, the same year. It was commissioned on February 10, 1944, under Lt. Albert E. Eldred’s command with the hull number AOG-20 and it served in the U.S. Navy for 2 years until it was decommissioned on May 1, 1946. During its activities, the ship carried a complement of 62 people on board and had its main missions in Panama Canal, Pearl Harbor, French Indochina, New Guinea, Morotai, Leyte, Mindoro, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Hainan Strait. After decommissioning, the ship was struck from the Navy List on May 21, 1946, and scrapped in Bouctouche in 1963. Until the use of asbestos was restricted by the United States in the 1970s, many U.S. Navy and Merchant Marines ships were contaminated with asbestos materials. Asbestos-containing materials are not generally considered to be harmful unless disturbed, most commonly so during maintenance or repair work. Tiny fibers become airborne and can lodge in the lungs, potentially leading to pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer, or other asbestos-related diseases. These diseases can take years or even decades to manifest, often appearing long after the initial exposure.

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Shipmates on USS Seekonk (AOG-20)