Written By: Camryn Keeble

Asbestos on Navy Cargo Ships

U.S. Navy cargo ships are specialized vessels designed to transport cargo and supplies to support naval operations. These ships are capable of carrying a variety of cargo, including food, chemicals, furniture, spare parts, ammunition, and other equipment to support military operations. One downfall of cargo ships and other Navy ships is that they were built with asbestos, a substance known to cause cancer and other serious illnesses.

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

Reviewed By

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

VA-Accredited Claims Agent

Dangers of Asbestos on Navy Cargo Ships

Cargo ships were built to sustain heavy loads and battle powerful seas, so strong and durable materials were required for successful construction. Unfortunately, one of the durable materials of choice was asbestos, a naturally occurring and carcinogenic mineral. Asbestos was often used in the construction of Navy ships and can be found within and throughout many components. 

Asbestos can be found built into deck tiles, sealed into piping and electrical insulation, and in the engine rooms, gaskets, pumps, valve packing materials, boilers and more. Because of the overwhelming presence of asbestos on Navy ships, many Navy veterans have likely been exposed to asbestos. This is called military asbestos exposure, which is a very common occurrence among veterans of the U.S. Navy.  

Military asbestos exposure, or any type of exposure, can result in lung cancer, mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases. If you are a Navy veteran who served on a cargo ship, you may have been exposed to asbestos on your transport ship. Contact our VA-Accredited Claims Agent, retired LCDR Carl Jewett, to find out more information or for assistance filing your VA claim.

Cargo ships that contained asbestos include the AK, T-AK, AKA, AKR, AKS, and AKV classes.

About Navy Cargo Ships

U.S. Navy cargo ships play a crucial role in ensuring the logistical support of naval forces during both wartime and peacetime operations. These auxiliary vessels transport essential supplies, equipment, and personnel to support the fleet, enabling the United States to maintain a global presence and project power effectively.

Cargo ships provide many support functions to other ships or shore installations. These specialized vessels were designed to transport a variety of cargo, functioning as a floating warehouse by storing different goods and equipment. Due to the storage functionality of cargo ships, they transport troops and equipment to support military operations.

By providing these essential resources, cargo ships enable the fleet to operate at extended distances from their home ports and to sustain their operations for extended periods.

Sources & Author

  1. An elevated port bow view of the Maritime Prepositioning Ship SS SGT. MATEJ KOCAK anchored a short distance from the Norfolk Naval Station – DPLA. Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=96754720. 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.