Written By: Camryn Keeble

Asbestos on Navy Ammo Ships

Navy ammo ships, also known as ammunition ships, are specialized vessels used by the United States Navy to transport and store ammunition and other explosive materials. These ships play a critical role in supplying the Navy’s ships and aircraft with the ammunition needed to carry out their missions. Despite their critical functionality, ammo ships contain mass amounts of asbestos, a material known to cause serious health issues, including cancer.

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

Reviewed By

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

VA-Accredited Claims Agent

Hazards of Asbestos on Navy Ammo Ships

Asbestos was heavily relied upon during the construction and operation of ammunition ships and other Navy ships. It served as a protective and insulating material to prevent the accidental ignition or detonation of the ammunition stored onboard. However, the heavy reliance on asbestos has led to severe health complications for many Navy veterans.

When constructing ammo ships and similar vessels, shipbuilders needed to utilize a durable material, such as asbestos, in almost every component of the ship to ensure longevity. Asbestos can often be found in the engine rooms, boilers, ductwork, HPACs, bulkheads, overheads, deck tiles, pipe and electrical insulation, gaskets, pumps, valve packing materials and more areas on Navy ships. 

Because of the amount of asbestos-containing materials on ammo ships, many veterans were likely victims of military asbestos exposure, which is exposure to asbestos that occurs while on active duty. Any type of asbestos exposure can result in major health conditions, such as lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.  

If you are a Navy veteran who served on an ammunition ship, you may have been exposed to asbestos. Contact our VA-Accredited Claims Agent, retired LCDR Carl Jewett, to find out more information or for assistance filing your VA claim.

More About Navy Ammo Ships

U.S. Navy Ammo Ships, specifically the AE (Ammunition Ship) or T-AKE (Dry Cargo/Ammunition Ship), were specialized vessels designed to transport and deliver ammunition, explosives and ordnance to the fleet at sea. These ships played a vital role in sustaining the operational capabilities of naval vessels, ensuring they had the necessary ammunition and ordnance to carry out their missions.

Ammunition ships are equipped with specialized storage areas, handling systems and safety features to ensure the safe transport of highly sensitive and dangerous materials. These ships often work in conjunction with other supply and logistics vessels, such as oilers and replenishment ships, to form a comprehensive support network for the fleet.

Due to the volatile nature of their cargo, ammunition ships are designed with numerous safety features to prevent accidents and mitigate potential damage, and asbestos played a heavy role in ensuring the safety of these ships.

Sources & Author

  1. USNSKilauea. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5872828. Accessed: 09/05/2023.
Camryn Keeble image

About the Writer, Camryn Keeble

Camryn Keeble is the senior content writer and editor for Mesothelioma Guide. She creates informative content to educate mesothelioma patients and their loved ones on news, treatments and more. She also works diligently to raise awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure and the effects of mesothelioma.