Suggested links

Asbestos on Auxiliary Ships

Hundreds of asbestos-containing products were used to build auxiliary ships before the early 1980s. As a result, any veterans who served on naval auxiliary ships were put in danger of developing mesothelioma and other serious illnesses later in life. Learn how we can help veterans diagnosed with mesothelioma from asbestos on auxiliary ships get the support they need.

Fact-Checked and Updated by: Jenna Tozzi, RN

Last updated:

About Asbestos on Auxiliary Ships

Asbestos was once celebrated for its fireproofing, insulating, and corrosion-resistant properties, which made it a perfect material to build seaworthy ships.

USS Missouri
USS Missouri (BB-63)

U.S. Navy auxiliary ships, which were combat support ships, contained hundreds of asbestos-containing products that posed a danger to those onboard.

Crew members who served on these ships or worked to keep them running may have breathed in or swallowed microscopic asbestos fibers. Once inside the body, these fibers never leave and can cause mesothelioma and other life-threatening illnesses 10-50 years after exposure.

Key Facts: Asbestos on Auxiliary Ships

  • Health risks: Mesothelioma, lung cancer, asbestosis, and other asbestos-related diseases
  • High-risk areas: Confined spaces, like engine and boiler rooms
  • High-risk jobs: Mechanics, electricians, pipefitters, and machinist’s mates
  • Types of ships: Transport vessels, supply ships, hospital ships, repair ships, oilers, and floating barracks
  • Uses: Insulation, pipes, gaskets, valves, adhesives, paints, fireproofing materials, and many other products

Mesothelioma Hope can help veterans with mesothelioma cancer from asbestos on auxiliary ships access VA benefits, medical treatments, and more. Get started by downloading our Free Veterans Compensation Guide.

Mesothelioma veteran support guide
Free Downloadable GuideVeterans Compensation Guide
  • Access $30+ billion in trust funds
  • File a VA claim
  • Receive legal compensation

Get Your Free Guide

Types of U.S. Navy Auxiliary Ships That Contained Asbestos

The U.S. Navy relied on different types of auxiliary ships to support other naval ships that were on the front lines of battle. They provided critical combat support, medical care, and rescue assistance for various military operations.

Naval auxiliary ships included:

  • Aircraft transports
  • Amphibious force command ships
  • Auxiliary docks
  • Crane ships
  • Colliers
  • Combat stores ships
  • Command ships
  • Communications relay ships
  • Deep submergence support ships
  • Destroyer tenders
  • Fleet ocean tugboats
  • Hospital ships
  • Icebreakers
  • Minesweepers
  • Missile range instrumentation ships
  • Motor torpedo boat tenders
  • Ocean surveillance ships
  • Provisions store ships
  • Radar picket ships
  • Repair ships
  • Seaplanes
  • Small and medium harbor tugs
  • Submarine tenders
  • Surveying ships
  • Tankers
  • Technical research ships
  • Transports

Veterans who served on these U.S. Navy ships prior to the early 1980s were in danger of breathing in or swallowing cancer-causing asbestos fibers and becoming sick decades later.

List of Auxiliary Ships That Used Asbestos Products

Although naval auxiliary ships may have been different in size, shape, and mission, they all had one thing in common: the widespread use of asbestos products.

Ships known to contain asbestos-containing materials include:

  • SS John W. Brown – Merchant marine ship
  • USS Alacrity (MSO-520) – Minesweeper
  • USS Altair (AKS-32) – General stores issue ship
  • USS Beltrami (AK-162) – Cargo ship
  • USS Chickadee (AM-59) – Minesweeper
  • USS Conserver (ARS-39) – Salvage and rescue ship
  • USS Dixie (AD-14) – Hull ship
  • USS Missouri (BB-63) – Battleship
  • USS Sperry (AS-12) – Destroyer tender
  • USS Trippe (FF-1075) – Frigate ship
  • USS Tortuga (LSD-46) – Amphibious ship

There are many other naval ships not listed above that had asbestos onboard. Use our military ships search tool below to see if any ships you served on contained asbestos.

Why Did the U.S. Navy Use Asbestos on Auxiliary Ships?

The Navy relied on asbestos-containing materials to build auxiliary ships since they were inexpensive, durable, and lightweight.

Asbestos on auxiliary ships kept these vessels:

  • Corrosion-free
  • Fireproof
  • Insulated
  • Soundproof

However, U.S. military personnel didn’t know asbestos could cause cancer. The companies that made and sold these products hid the risks to keep making money.

By the 1980s, the Navy stopped using asbestos on auxiliary ships and other vessels in its fleet due to concerns about its health risks.

After the dangers became known, the Navy spearheaded major renovation projects to remove asbestos on auxiliary ships and other military assets.

Unfortunately, these safety efforts came too late for the millions of Navy veterans who had already been exposed after serving on naval auxiliary ships.

Which Asbestos Products Were on Auxiliary Ships?

Hundreds of asbestos-containing products were used to build U.S. Navy ships, including naval auxiliary ships, to keep them fireproof and protect them from water damage.

Common asbestos products on auxiliary ships included:

  • Adhesives
  • Electrical cable and wire coating
  • Engine and boiler liners
  • Gaskets
  • Insulation
  • Pipes
  • Sealants and paints
  • Soundproofing
  • Steam pipe protection
  • Valves

Navy veterans who worked with or near these products could have breathed in or swallowed the tiny fibers, putting them at risk of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related diseases today.

Call (866) 608-8933 right now to see if Mesothelioma Hope can help you get military benefits, access top medical treatments, and pursue financial compensation if you were exposed to asbestos on auxiliary ships.

Auxiliary Ship Personnel at Risk of Asbestos Exposure

The cramped quarters and poor ventilation systems on naval auxiliary ships increased the risk of asbestos exposure for crew members. These conditions allowed airborne asbestos dust to stay in the air and circulate throughout these ships.

However, some service jobs posed a higher risk of asbestos exposure than others. Workers who handled asbestos products daily or worked near others who did faced the highest risk.

High-risk jobs for exposure to asbestos on auxiliary ships include:

  • Boilermakers
  • Electricians
  • Engine room workers
  • Firefighters
  • Hull maintenance technicians
  • Insulators
  • Machinist’s mates
  • Mechanics
  • Painters
  • Pipefitters and plumbers
  • Welders
Did You Know?

Shipyard workers who built, repaired, and renovated auxiliary ships were also at a high risk of asbestos exposure. These workers not only handled asbestos-containing products on a regular basis but were often in the vicinity when asbestos-laden ships were renovated.

Compensation for Veterans Exposed to Asbestos on Auxiliary Ships

Veterans with mesothelioma from asbestos on auxiliary ships may be entitled to several different types of compensation. Learn more about potential options for mesothelioma compensation below.

VA Benefits

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) offers benefits to former service members with mesothelioma. In 2024, married veterans can receive almost $4,000 a month in tax-free disability compensation.

Other VA benefits include:

  • Free or low-cost VA health care
  • In-home caregiving services
  • Pensions
  • Survivor benefits

Mesothelioma Hope can help you file VA claims or increase your existing disability payouts after a mesothelioma diagnosis. Download our Free Veterans Compensation Guide right now to get started.

Mesothelioma veteran support guide
Free Downloadable GuideVeterans Compensation Guide
  • Access $30+ billion in trust funds
  • File a VA claim
  • Receive legal compensation

Get Your Free Guide

Mesothelioma Lawsuits

Mesothelioma lawsuits award $1 million to $1.4 million on average, providing many veterans with the money they need to help pay for medical care and provide for their families.

These lawsuits are filed against the companies that made and sold the asbestos products that caused you to become sick — the military or government is never sued. Additionally, filing a lawsuit does not affect your right to VA benefits.

Contact our team for free to see if you can access compensation from a mesothelioma lawsuit.

Asbestos Trust Funds

Many asbestos companies filed for bankruptcy to avoid mesothelioma lawsuits, but they were forced by the courts to establish asbestos trust funds to pay victims for the harm they caused.

Today, over $30 billion is available in these bankruptcy trust funds for those who developed mesothelioma from asbestos on auxiliary ships.

Many asbestos victims are eligible to file claims with more than one trust, maximizing their total payout. The first payouts from asbestos trust funds usually arrive within 90 days.

See if you may be owed asbestos trust fund money right now.

a lawyer shares documents with a client
Access Asbestos
Trust Funds
  • More than $30 billion available
  • $300K-$400K average compensation
  • Get money in 90 days or less

Check If You Qualify

Help for Naval Auxiliary Ship Veterans With Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Hope can help U.S. Navy auxiliary ship veterans who got sick after serving on vessels that contained asbestos.

Our Patient Advocates, VA-accredited claims agents, and asbestos attorneys are here to provide you and your family members with the support you need during this challenging time.

Work with our team to access:

  • Benefits from the VA worth almost $4,000 a month
  • Expert medical treatment from top VA doctors and hospitals
  • Legal compensation worth over $1 million

Call (866) 608-8933 now or get our Free Veterans Compensation Guide to learn more about your options.

Asbestos on Auxiliary Ships FAQs

Was asbestos used on ships?

Yes, thousands of ships, including naval auxiliary ships and other Navy vessels used during World War I, World War II, and beyond, contained asbestos-based products.

As a result, millions of service members were exposed to asbestos while they served their country. Today, Navy veterans are at risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses like mesothelioma.

If you or a loved one has been affected, reach out to our team today to see if we can help you access financial assistance and other supportive resources.

When did they stop using asbestos in Navy ships?

The U.S. Navy stopped using asbestos to build ships in the early 1980s when the dangers of asbestos became known.

By this time, however, it was too late for millions of service members who had already been exposed to this cancer-causing substance on naval auxiliary ships and other military vessels.

Today, about 33% of mesothelioma cases can be traced back to asbestos exposure on U.S. Navy ships.

Do U.S. Navy ships have asbestos?

While U.S. Navy ships are no longer built using asbestos products, it’s possible that some naval vessels still contain asbestos.

However, in these cases, the asbestos has been contained so that it no longer poses a danger to those onboard.

Jenna TozziWritten by:

Director of Patient Advocacy

Jenna Tozzi, RN, is the Director of Patient Advocacy at Mesothelioma Hope. With more than 15 years of experience as an adult and pediatric oncology nurse navigator, Jenna provides exceptional guidance and support to mesothelioma patients and their loved ones. Jenna has been featured in Oncology Nursing News and is a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators & the American Nurses Association.

Our Promise to You
Our Promise to You
  2. Lemen RA, Landrigan PJ. (2021). Sailors and the Risk of Asbestos-Related Cancer. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Retrieved May 31, 2024, from
  3. Naval Vessel Register. (n.d.) Active Vessels. Retrieved May 31, 2024, from
  4. Naval Vessel Register. (n.d.) Non Active Vessels. Retrieved May 31, 2024, from
  5. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (n.d.) Public Health, Asbestos. Retrieved May 31, 2024, from
Free 30-Minute ConversationWith Jenna Tozzi, RN
Fill Out Your Contact Information
How We Can Help

Mesothelioma Hope is passionate about helping patients and families affected by this aggressive cancer. A mesothelioma diagnosis can be scary and isolating, but we’re here for you at every step. Hope is only a phone call away.

(866) 608-8933
Medical Guidance
  • Get a second opinion
  • Find a doctor or cancer center
  • Access clinical trials
  • Improve your quality of life
Financial Assistance
  • Access $30 billion in trust funds
  • File a mesothelioma claim
  • Increase your VA benefits
  • Apply for travel grants
Supportive Care
  • Find a support group or peer mentor
  • Get help with daily tasks
  • Explore respite care options
  • Navigate life post-treatment