The USS Venus (AK-135) was a cargo ship operated by the US Navy during World War II. It belonged to the Crater-class. Originally laid down as the Liberty Ship SS William Williams by Permanente Metals Corporation under a Maritime Commission contract, it was transferred to the US Navy after being torpedoed and heavily damaged by a Japanese submarine near the Fiji Islands in May 1943. Under the Navy’s control, the ship was responsible for the transportation of various types of general cargo in the Admiralty Islands, Hollandia, the Philippines, and New Hebrides, encountering various challenges along the way.
Hastily built during wartime, the USS Venus (AK-135) presented a danger to her crew because of the high quantities of asbestos onboard. Virtually, all the areas of her interior had some traces of this toxic mineral, but the highest concentrations could be found in the engine and propulsion rooms, boiler rooms, and fire control room. Due to exposure to this substance, many former Navy servicemen developed asbestos-related lung diseases.