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The Merchant Marine fleet is responsible for our country’s import and export activity. During wartime, these vessels are responsible for delivering necessary supplies to troops on the front lines. Much of the equipment on merchant ships, including boilers, pumps, pipe coverings, turbines, fuel oil burners and more, contained asbestos.

Because of the heavy use of asbestos, the Merchant Mariners and other individuals working on these merchant ships or in shipyards may be at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases like mesothelioma and asbestos cancer.  In 1951, the fleet included more than 1,000 vessels. The fleet has been steadily shrinking and included just 81 ships in 2018. Despite a smaller fleet, some of the vessels still actively being used may contain asbestos materials and continue to put people at risk of exposure.


Listed below are some of the ships that comprised the U.S. Merchant Marine fleet during World War II, when asbestos use in the United States was growing.

  • S.S. Alcoa Cavalier
  • S.S. Bay State
  • S.S. Berkeley Victory
  • S.S. Blue Grass State
  • S.S. Borinquen
  • S.S. Buckeye State
  • S.S. Burco Trader
  • S.S. C.H.M. Jones
  • S.S. Cilco Logger
  • S.S. Copper State
  • S.S. Coxcomb Hill
  • S.S. Defiance
  • S.S. Del Mar
  • S.S. E.J. Block
  • S.S. Elizabeth W. Moran
  • S.S. Empire State
  • S.S. Evergreen State
  • S.S. Excalibur
  • S.S. Gopher State
  • S.S. Keystone State
  • S.S. Little Butte
  • S.S. Lurline (Matson Line)
  • S.S. Mobilube, Bethlehem Steel, Sparrows Point Yard, MD
  • S.S. Mormacdove
  • S.S. Mormacsea
  • S.S. Morris Hillquit
  • S.S. Oakey L. Alexander, formerly the S.S. Laconia Victory
  • S.S. Pacific Victory
  • S.S. Pan Massachusetts
  • S.S. Pine Tree State
  • S.S. President Cleveland, Bethlehem Steel West Coast Shipyard, CA
  • S.S. Robin Gray, ex-USS Fayette (APA-43), Ingalls Shipbuilding Company, MS
  • S.S. Samuel Chase
  • S.S. Sheldon Clark, Bethlehem Shipbuilding at Fore River Shipyard, MA
  • S.S. Simon Benson
  • S.S. Socony 10
  • S.S. Spencer Kellogg
  • S.S. Steel Traveler, Federal Shipbuilding, NJ
  • S.S. Stonewall Jackson
  • S.S. Thomas H. Barry, ex S.S. Oriente, Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co., VA
  • S.S. Thomas Lynch
  • S.S. Thomas Nelson
  • S.S. Tydol Bayonne
  • S.S. Uruguay, ex-California (representing American Republic Line’s “Good Neighbor” ships)
  • S.S. William Hooper
  • S.S. William J. Bryan
  • S.S. William Mulholland
  • S.S. Wilson B. Keene

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