Located in Jacksonville, Florida, the shipyard was founded in 1942. The purpose of St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company was to supply the U.S. Navy with military vessels during World War II, more specifically with Liberty ships. The company was set by local shipbuilder Merrill-Stevens with $17 million invested by the U.S. Maritime Commission. St. Johns River Shipbuilding Company built 82 ships, and during its peak, it had roughly 20,000 employees. Sadly, all of these people were exposed to asbestos while constructing the ships, as the mineral was the go-to material for insulation and other products belonging to military vessels. By handling asbestos products, especially friable ones, workers would cloud the air with toxic dust that they would unavoidably breathe in.