U.S.S. Albany CG 10 (Guided Missile Cruiser)
Originally design and built as a heavy cruiser designated CA 123, Albany was built at Quincy MA By the Bethlehem Steel Corporation and commissioned in June, 1946. After initial shakedown operations the ship conducted training cruises for naval reservists along the American east coast and the Caribbean before conducting its first tour of duty in the Mediterranean in 1948.
The pattern thus established in the ship’s first two years of operation continued throughout the following decade, with Sixth Fleet tours alternating with training operations in the western Atlantic, Caribbean, and Chesapeake Bay. Port visits to South America were also part of the ship’s routine.
In 1958 the ship was decommissioned to begin its conversion to a guided missile cruiser. Now designated CG 10, Albany spent four years in Boston Naval Shipyard undergoing the extensive rebuild from the hull up.
Albany returned to service in 1962 and began operations, again with the Atlantic fleet, in European waters including the North Atlantic, Norwegian Sea, Mediterranean Sea and operating in US home waters and the Caribbean. Routine operations during this period included training cruises, joint naval exercises with NATO, goodwill port visits and periodic maintenance availabilities.
Albany used its radars and missile targeting abilities to provide protection from air attack for the ships in its task forces and to track and target hostile surface ships. The developing reliance on missiles as the US Navy’s primary surface weapon against air and sea targets meant continuing changes in the capabilities of its weapons, and by 1967 Albany’s weapons were no longer considered to be of front line quality.
Albany returned to Boston Naval Shipyard that year for extensive modifications and modernization, remaining in overhaul until 1968. Returned to service, the ship remained in the Atlantic fleet until 1973, when another overhaul to bring the ship’s systems up-to-date was performed, this time at Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.
In 1974 the ship re-entered service, with Norfolk VA serving as its home port until it transferred to the Mediterranean to serve as flagship of the Sixth Fleet. Now homeported in Gaeta, Italy, Albany performed that role until 1980.
Albany was decommissioned in 1980 and placed in reserve to await final disposition. In 1990 the ship was broken up for scrap.
Asbestos Exposure on U.S.S. Albany
Originally built as a heavy cruiser primarily armed with nine heavy guns, asbestos and materials containing asbestos products were used liberally on U.S.S. Albany. Asbestos use in the engineering spaces was extensive. Boilers were lined with asbestos, and the material could be found in gaskets, seals, winch and capstan brakes, clutches, and insulation. Pipe lagging and pipe mud all contained asbestos.
Asbestos lagged pipes could be found throughout the vessel, as was attested by the shipbreakers at the time of its scrapping.
During the extended period Albany was in shipyards for conversion, and later for modification and maintenance, Albany was exposed to the extensive use of asbestos materials, which left behind a microscopic dust in the ships ventilation system and in the literally thousands of limited access nooks and crannies which fill any ship. This dust, as well as the dust released from deteriorating insulation throughout the ship, would be dispersed throughout the vessel during normal ship operation.