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Did My Naval Vessel Have an Asbestos Problem?

Naval ships constructed from 1941 and beyond contained asbestos-containing materials (ACMs). Former naval personnel have reason to be concerned if they served on a ship that was built with ACMs.

National Archives

The United States National Archives has an excellent site that explains how to begin research and ultimately determine if a ship did have an asbestos issue. While a worried veteran can hire a researcher, there is work that private individuals can do to track naval ship asbestos issues.

Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

A good place to start naval ship asbestos research would be the Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. Here, a veteran can first browse ships by name. When the proper vessel is located, the ship's history will appear. This history includes when the ship was initially constructed, any dates when overhauling occurred, and any other major ship modifications.

Record Group 19

Record Group 19: Records of the Bureau of Ships will present correspondence about the construction and final disposition of the naval vessel in question. This correspondence can be found in the Navy Filing Manual.


Naval veterans worried about naval ship asbestos exposure can also locate the shipyard where the ship in question was constructed. Government shipyards show "NY" when located. Private shipyards are designated as "QM."

Other Research Channels

Naval historical notes can provide clues about asbestos use because fleet modernization programs FRAM I and FRAM II allowed for significant ship modifications. Researchers can also look to the Ship Characteristics Board and the Ship Acquisition and Improvement Board for more information.

Most Sought After Records

Navy ship engineering drawings found in the Cartographic Branch are commonly among the most sought-after naval shipbuilding records. These documents are referred to as the "Hull Series" and they can be found in the U.S. Navy Filing Materials in the "S" Series Filing Codes section. There are also microfilm records that can be accessed to find ship engineering drawings.

Ship Deck Logs

While ship deck logs do not prove the existence of asbestos on a particular vessel, they can prove that a seaman was assigned to a certain ship. If that ship has proven asbestos issues, the deck logs can be an important link. Furthermore, some deck log dates might show times of ship renovation when dangerous asbestos fibers could have been released into the air.

Latency Period

Asbestos exposure can cause asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Asbestos-exposure illnesses, however, can exhibit a very long latency period. For example, someone exposed to ACM in the early 1970s might just now begin to show symptoms of fatal asbestos exposure-related diseases. If a veteran believes that their asbestos exposure occurred on a naval vessel, quality research is important.

Get Legal Help Today

If you have been exposed to asbestos and you have developed mesothelioma, you can be compensated. Navigating a complex asbestos lawsuit can be challenging, and you need to consult with an experienced attorney about your issue. If you think you have an asbestos claim, contact a qualified Mesothelioma Attorney at the Throneberry Law Group. The Throneberry Law Group provides aggressive and compassionate support and representation for asbestos cancer victims. Call an experienced Throneberry Law Group attorney today at 888-506-1131, or visit them online for 24/7 assistance.

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