Written By: Camryn Keeble

Asbestos on Navy Minesweepers

U.S. Navy minesweepers are specialized ships designed to locate and clear mines from shipping lanes, harbors, and other areas of strategic importance. Mines pose a serious threat and can be deployed by enemy forces or can be left over from previous conflicts. Unfortunately, minesweepers are known to contain asbestos, a cancer-causing mineral, in various capacities.

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

Reviewed By

Retired LCDR Carl Jewett

VA-Accredited Claims Agent

Dangers of Asbestos on Navy Minesweepers

Navy minesweepers were built to withstand intense seas and warfare. During construction, these specialized vessels required durable and long-lasting materials. However, one of the primary materials used by Navy shipbuilders was asbestos, a cancer-causing material. Asbestos is known to cause different types of cancer, and it is the only known cause of a rare cancer called mesothelioma

The cancer-causing material can be found in many Navy ships built before the 1980s. Asbestos was used for its heat resistance and durability. Components containing asbestos can be found in condensers, main engines, HPACs, engine rooms and boilers, insulation of pipes and electrical equipment, turbines, valve packing material, gaskets, deck tiles, ductwork, and more. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) significantly regulated the use of asbestos in the 1980s, so ships built today have little asbestos. However, veterans who served aboard minesweepers and other Navy ships were likely exposed to asbestos. Exposure to asbestos while on active duty is referred to as military asbestos exposure, which is a very common occurrence. 

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

About Navy Minesweepers

Minesweepers have played an essential role in the United States Navy, ensuring the safe passage of naval vessels through mine-infested waters during wartime and peacetime operations. These specialized ships are designed to detect, locate, and neutralize various naval mines, protecting the fleet from potential threats.

Their primary mission is the detection, neutralization, and clearance of mines for the safe passage of the U.S. Navy and allied forces. During peacetime, minesweepers, with their shallow drafts and maneuverability, are well-suited for coastal patrol and surveillance missions. They have also proved useful in search and rescue and disaster relief missions.

Sources & Author

    1. USS Excel (MSO-439) underway off San Diego, California (USA), on 14 December 1985 . Wikimedia Commons. Retrieved from: https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=2983912. 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.