Asbestos on Amphibious Ships

Asbestos on Amphibious Warships

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Amphibious warships, also known as “gator freighters,” are an integral part of the U.S. Naval fleet, but were often created with a variety of asbestos building materials, posing health risks to passengers and crew members. Commissioned mainly in the early 1940s, amphibious warships supported World War II efforts, they were designed to transport troops and also aided in discharging ground force cargo. When they were first built, asbestos was used throughout the pipe units. Sailors were in close quarters with poor ventilation, and they often inhaled the airborne asbestos from the wet pipes and other asbestos materials on board.

Although asbestos itself is an inexpensive material used in the ships’ construction, removal can be extremely costly, as one study concluded that it would cost $945,000 to remove asbestos materials from engineering spaces on the USS Anchorage warship. Though the military has removed asbestos from most of its ships, those who served on the ships previously, as well as those who are responsible for retiring them now, may be at risk of developing mesothelioma.

USS Fort Snelling LSD-30 Thomaston 1/24/1955 Scrapped, 1995
USS LaSalle LPD-3 Raleigh 2/22/1964

Sunk as Target, 2007