U.S. Navy or Merchant Marines

From the 1920s until the mid-1970s, thousands of ships used by the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marines were constructed with parts or materials containing asbestos. Thousands of U.S. sailors may have been exposed to asbestos as a result of their military service, placing them at risk of a number of asbestos-related diseases, including mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.

Asbestos was widely used onboard naval vessels to insulate ship components from heat. Asbestos materials could be found in ship parts such as deck coverings, engine room components, pipe fitting and coverings, gaskets, brakes and clutches.

Although asbestos could be found on smaller ships (such as dredges, ferries, towboats and tugboats) larger vessels used by the Navy or Merchant Marines (including destroyers, aircraft carriers, battleships, cargo ships, passenger ships and troop carriers, tankers, cruisers, submarines) sometimes contained as much as 1,000 tons of asbestos materials.

Shipyard workers who built or repaired vessels used by the Navy or Merchant Marines could also be exposed to asbestos. Sailors who worked in the shipyards during World War II were almost as likely to die from mesothelioma as they were to die in combat.

A study entitled “Asbestos and Ship-Building: Fatal Consequences,” published in the  Ulster Medical Society Journal  in 2008, showed that shipyard workers carried a mortality rate from asbestosis , caused by an exposure to asbestos  16 times greater than the average of other occupations

Although the federal government has been aware of the health risks from asbestos exposure since at least 1922 and passed strict safety standards to protect sailors and shipyard workers, the Navy failed to enforce these regulations until the 1970s. As a result, millions of veterans of WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War and other conflicts may have been placed at risk of developing asbestos-related illnesses.

Because it may take decades after exposure to asbestos for an individual to develop symptoms of an asbestos disease, many naval veterans may only recently have only recently received a diagnosis of mesothelioma, asbestosis, lung cancer or other conditions, even though their exposure to asbestos occurred many years ago.

If you served in the U.S. Navy or Merchant Marines and believe you were exposed to asbestos, contact the law office of Hissey Kientz, LLP to learn more about your legal rights. You can reach us by calling toll-free at (866) 275-4454, or by filling out the free case evaluation form to the right of this page.

Dozens of shipyards across the United States have documented incidents of asbestos exposure leading to mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.  Some of the more notable shipyards include:

Shipyard Location
American Bridge Shipyard Orange, Texas
American Ship Building Company Loraine, Ohio
Barbours Cut Docks LaPorte, Texas
Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyards, Inc Baltimore, Maryland
California Shipbuilding Corporation Los Angeles California
Delta Shipbuilding Company New Orleans, Louisiana
Galveston Docks Galveston, Texas
J. A. Jones Construction Company Brunswick, Georgia and Panama City, Florida
Kaiser Shipyards Vancouver, Washington and Richmond, California
Marinship Corporation Sausalito, California
New England Shipbuilding Company South Portland, Maine
North Carolina Shipbuilding Company Wilmington, North Carolina
Oregon Shipbuilding Company Portland Oregon
Permanente Metals Corporation, #1 & #2 Yard Richmond, California
Southeastern Shipbuilding Corporation Savannah, Georgia
St. John’s River Shipbuilding Company Jacksonville, Florida
Todd Houston Shipbuilding Corporation Houston and Galveston, Texas; Seattle Washington; San Francisco and Los Angeles, California;  New Orleans Louisiana;  Providence, Rhode Island; Brooklyn, New York
Walsh-Kaiser Company, Inc. Providence Rhode Island


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