Menu

Learn About Your Legal Rights

  • Connect with a mesothelioma lawyer and discuss your options
  • Request a free case evaluation
  • More than 30 years experience representing mesothelioma victims
Request Free Guide

Shipyards are one of the jobsites associated with high levels of asbestos exposure. Asbestos was used frequently throughout ships, equipment and products used at shipyards. Shipyard workers and members of the U.S. Navy faced asbestos exposure at shipyards and, as a result, are at high risk for mesothelioma.


01. Asbestos at Shipyards

Asbestos Use at Shipyards

Before the dangers of asbestos were widely known, it was considered a cheap, reliable solution for durability, heat resistance and fireproofing in the shipbuilding industry. American warships and other naval vessels operate with many high-heat pieces of equipment. The boilers, turbines, pumps, incinerators and other heavy-duty equipment in these ships often relied on asbestos for safe, long-term use.

Asbestos insulation was also used throughout ship walls and within boiler rooms. The pipe coverings and pipe linings of steam pipes and water pipes also contained asbestos insulation. This allowed materials to withstand high temperatures without catching fire.

Vessels frequently underwent construction and repairs at shipyards. This maintenance often caused wear and tear or damage to asbestos materials. As a result, asbestos fibers easily became airborne, posing a risk of asbestos exposure to workers.

Asbestos exposure below deck was especially dangerous due to poor ventilation. This allowed asbestos dust to collect in small areas, making the fibers even more concentrated and leading to a higher risk of exposure.

From the 1930s to the 1980s, veterans and shipyard workers faced frequent exposure at shipyards. There are shipyards with a high potential of asbestos exposure across the country and exposures may continue due to use of older ships.

Alabama Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Many shipyards in Alabama may have exposed workers to asbestos, such as Alabama Dry Dock & Shipyard Company and Bender Shipbuilding.

The following shipyards in Alabama may have exposed workers and veterans to asbestos. Today, exposure may still occur at these locations when ships built before 1980 are worked on.

Alabama Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

  • Bethlehem Steel Shipyard
  • Gulf Ship Building Company

California Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

California shipyards may have exposed veterans and civilian workers to asbestos. California has one of the largest coastlines in the country. As a result, various shipyards and shipbuilding companies formed in the state. Many of these shipyards relied on asbestos materials. Exposure at California shipyards, such as Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, was most likely to occur before 1980. Today, exposure may still occur at shipyards in California if workers service older ships or use aging equipment.

The following shipyards in California may have exposed workers and veterans to asbestos.

California Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Connecticut Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Shipyards in Connecticut may have exposed Navy veterans and other shipyard workers to asbestos. Exposure at Connecticut shipyards includes General Dynamics Electric Boat, Thames Shipyard and U.S. Naval Submarine Base. Workers at these shipyards were most at risk between the 1930s and 1980.

Connecticut Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Florida Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Florida shipyards may have exposed veterans and other workers to asbestos. The state offers a large coastal area, making the state home to various shipyards and shipbuilding companies. Those working or serving at these shipyards were most at risk before 1980. However, shipyard workers may still experience occupational asbestos exposure when maintaining or decommissioning older ships at the following shipyards.

Florida Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

  • Atlantic Dry Dock
  • Bellinger Shipyard
  • Gulf Marine Repair
  • Hendry Corporation
  • Hooker’s Point Yard

Hawaii Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

The Hawaiian Island of Oahu is the location of Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, which was known to use asbestos. The shipyard was established in 1908 and has employed thousands of workers over the years. Those working or serving at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard were most at risk before 1980. However, shipyard workers may still experience occupational asbestos exposure if working on older ships at the shipyard.

Louisiana Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

As a coastal state, many shipyards and ship construction jobsites developed in Louisiana. Shipyards in the state of Louisiana may have exposed veterans and other workers to asbestos. Service men or women and civilians working at these shipyards were most at risk before 1980. However, workers may still face asbestos exposure from older ships at the following shipyards.

Louisiana Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

  • Avondale Shipyards Inc. – Baton Rouge
  • Avondale Shipyards Inc. – Westwego
  • Avondale Shipyards, Inc.
  • Avondale Shipyards, Inc. – Algiers
  • Avondale Shipyards, Inc. – New Orleans
  • Bollinger Shipyard
  • Conrad Industries

Maine Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Shipyards in Maine may have exposed workers to asbestos. Service personnel and civilians working at the Bath Iron Works Corporation and the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard risked asbestos exposure. For instance, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard began operating in 1800 and used asbestos for much of its history. The shipyard employed thousands of workers, who predominantly risked exposure before 1980. However, workers may still face exposure from older ships at the Maine shipyards.

Massachusetts Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Shipyards in Massachusetts may have caused asbestos exposure among the military and civilian workers. Those working or serving at Massachusetts shipyards were most at risk prior to 1980. For instance, the Boston Navy Yard was established in 1800 and closed in 1974. Throughout many of its years of operation, thousands of employees at the shipyard risked asbestos exposure. Workers may still face asbestos exposure from older ships at the following shipyards in the state.

Massachusetts Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Michigan Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

The Defoe Shipyard in Michigan may have caused exposure to asbestos among military and civilian workers. Those working at the shipyard before the 1980s were most at risk. However, workers may still face exposure to the mineral from older ships at Defoe Shipyard.

Mississippi Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Mississippi shipyards may have caused exposure to asbestos among military and civilian workers. For example, Ingalls Shipyard formed in 1938 and still operates today. From the time of the shipyard’s founding until the 1980s, asbestos was heavily used in shipbuilding. As a result, those working at shipyards in the state until the 1980s were most at risk. However, workers may still experience exposure to asbestos from older ships and/or equipment at the following Mississippi shipyards.

Mississippi Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

New Hampshire Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, just across the harbor from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, may have caused exposure to asbestos among military and civilian workers. Those working there before the 1980s were most at risk. However, workers may still face exposure to the mineral from older ships at the shipyard.

New Jersey Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

New Jersey shipyards in Camden, Burlington and Hoboken may have caused exposure to asbestos. Military and civilian workers stationed or working at shipyards in New Jersey until the 1980s were most at risk. However, workers may still face exposure to asbestos from older ships and equipment at the following shipyards in the state.

New Jersey Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

New York Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Shipyards in New York may have exposed military and civilian workers to asbestos. For example, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was a bustling military shipyard from the 1800s until 1966. Throughout these years, thousands of employees worked at the shipyard and risked exposure to asbestos materials. Those working at shipyards in New York before the 1980s were most at risk of occupational asbestos exposure. However, workers may still be exposed to asbestos from older ships or equipment at the following shipyards in New York.

New York Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

  • GMD Shipyard
  • Todd Shipyards Corporation

Oregon Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Oregon was a prominent location for shipyards as a coastal state. Various Oregon shipyards may have exposed workers to asbestos. Those civilians working or members of the military serving at shipyards in Oregon before the 1980s were most at risk of occupational exposure. However, workers may still come in contact with asbestos from older ships and/or equipment at the following shipyards in Oregon.

Oregon Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Pennsylvania Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Shipyards in the state of Pennsylvania may have exposed workers to asbestos. Pennsylvania shipyards such as the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard employed thousands of workers, particularly during war times. Civilians working or members of the military serving at shipyards in the state before the 1980s were most at risk of asbestos exposure. However, workers may still face asbestos exposure due to older ships and/or equipment at the following Pennsylvania shipyards.

Pennsylvania Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Rhode Island Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Naval Station Newport and Quonset Point Naval Station in Rhode Island may have exposed military and civilian workers to asbestos. Those working at these shipyards before the 1980s were most at risk of exposure. However, workers may still experience exposure from older ships at the Rhode Island shipyards.

South Carolina Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Shipyards in South Carolina may have exposed workers to asbestos. Those working at shipyards in the state before the 1980s were most at risk of exposure. However, asbestos exposure may still occur from older ships and/or equipment at the following South Carolina shipyards.

South Carolina Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

  • Braswell Services Group
  • Carolina Shipping Company

Texas Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

As a large coastal state with its border on the Gulf of Mexico, Texas became a prominent location for shipyards and shipbuilding jobsites. Shipyards in Texas may have exposed workers to asbestos. Those working or military personnel serving at Texas shipyards before the 1980s were most at risk of exposure. However, asbestos exposure may still occur from older ships and/or equipment at the following shipyards in the state.

Texas Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

  • Houston Shipyards
  • Kane Shipbuilding
  • Naval Station Ingleside
  • Orange Shipbuilding Company
  • Port Adams Shipyard
  • Texas Boats of Freeport
  • Todd Shipyards Corporation

Virginia Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Virginia shipyards may have exposed veterans and other workers to asbestos. Shipyards that used asbestos could be found in various cities, including Portsmouth, Newport News and Norfolk. Those working or serving at shipyards in the state before the 1980s were most at risk of exposure. However, asbestos exposure may still occur from older ships and/or equipment at the following Virginia shipyards.

Virginia Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

  • Colonna’s Shipyard
  • Lyon Shipyard
  • Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek

Washington Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

Shipyards in Washington may have exposed workers and veterans to asbestos. Shipyards in Seattle, Bremerton, Vancouver and other cities in Washington relied on asbestos materials. Individuals working or serving at shipyards in Washington before the 1980s were most at risk. However, workers may still face asbestos exposure from older ships and/or equipment at the following shipyards in the state.

Washington Shipyards With Asbestos Exposure

  • Bremerton Naval Shipyard
  • Duwamish Shipyard
  • Kaiser Shipyard
  • Lake Union Drydock Company
  • Lockheed Shipbuilding
  • Naval Station Everett
  • Puget Sound Bridge & Dredge Shipyard

The above states have some of the most notorious shipyards for asbestos exposure. Anyone previously employed at those shipyards should speak with a doctor about potential exposure.

Other States With Shipyards That Caused Asbestos Exposure

The states included below have also been noted for exposing shipyard workers and others to asbestos. Workers at these shipyards may be at risk of developing asbestos-related diseases.

Other States With Shipyards That Caused Asbestos Exposure

02. Occupational Risk at Shipyards

Shipyard Workers and Exposure Risk

From the 1930s to 1980, asbestos was used heavily in shipbuilding and related industries. During these years, thousands worked at shipyards and on ships. During war efforts, employment increased at shipyards across the country. Asbestos was relied on greatly during wartimes, as ships needed to be durable and fire-resistant during battle.

During the 1932 Depression, asbestos use in the United States totaled around 197 million pounds, annually. This tripled to around 633 million by 1937. During World War II, use of asbestos averaged 783 million pounds in the U.S. each year. More than 1,400 million pounds of asbestos were used by the early Cold War years, finally decreasing in the mid-1970s.

During wartime in particular, veterans and others faced a higher risk of developing an asbestos illness because of the heavy use of asbestos.

Navy veterans risked exposure when asbestos products were disturbed on the ship, especially when working below decks in close, poorly ventilated quarters. Current Navy members may experience asbestos exposure when working on aging ships in shipyards.

In addition to active Navy personnel and Navy veterans, there are many other civilians who have worked in shipyards. Shipyard trades at risk include:

  • Shipbuilders
  • Maintenance workers
  • Repairmen

Shipbuilders came into contact with asbestos when using asbestos-containing construction materials.

Maintenance workers and repairmen have been exposed when repairing ships, boilers and other machinery onboard the ships. Risks of exposure persist today with old ships still in use or being maintained for historical purposes.

03. Shipyards and Asbestos Diseases

Mesothelioma and Other Asbestos Diseases Among Shipyard Workers

Because of the heavy use of asbestos at shipyards, shipyard workers and Navy veterans are among the most at risk for asbestos diseases. Cases of asbestosis, lung cancer and asbestos cancer have been reported from shipyard workers and Navy veterans. Those who worked at shipyards also face a high risk of developing malignant mesothelioma.

After asbestos exposure, symptoms of mesothelioma and other asbestos diseases can take decades to present. As a result, many veterans are only just being diagnosed with the cancer, years after serving. Today, veterans still account for about one-third of all mesothelioma diagnoses.

Veterans Benefits for Those Diagnosed After Shipyard Exposure

Veterans exposed to asbestos while serving the country and stationed or working at shipyards may be eligible for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits. Mesothelioma lawyers can help veterans and their families file a lawsuit, disability claim or other VA claim.

Veterans may also receive mesothelioma treatment at a reduced or no cost through veteran treatment centers.

Veterans and other shipyard workers who believe they’ve experienced asbestos exposure at shipyards should speak with a mesothelioma doctor.

04. Lawsuits and Compensation

Lawsuits and Compensation From Shipyard Asbestos Exposure

Victims diagnosed with an asbestos disease due to work at shipyards may be eligible for compensation. A mesothelioma law firm can assist patients and their families in filing a lawsuit. Many victims have filed successful claims after exposure to asbestos at shipyards.

Bert Minton, Shipfitter and Repair Supervisor, Wins Suit Against Exxon

Bert Minton, 72, was awarded $25 million by a jury in his lawsuit against Exxon.

Minton developed mesothelioma after working on Exxon oil tankers.

Minton was a shipfitter on 17 Exxon commercial oil tankers and was a repair supervisor at Newport News Shipbuilding.

Shipyard Worker Receives $1.4M in Compensation

A 68-year-old claimant in San Jose, California, was exposed to asbestos while employed as a plant worker and shipyard worker. During their career, the claimant faced exposure at Bethlehem Steel Corporation, H & H Ship Service Company, M&O Ship Service Company and more.

The claimant later developed an asbestos disease and received more than $1.4 million in financial compensation.

Individuals exposed to asbestos at shipyards and their families have many legal options to hold liable asbestos companies responsible.

Those currently working at shipyards across the United States should speak with their supervisors about potential asbestos exposure to mitigate future disease.

Get Help Contacting

Where Should We Overnight Your Free Guide?



    Privacy policy: All information is secure and will never be released

    TRUSTe