Once a subsidiary of U.S. Steel but now owned by the Halter Marine Company, the former American Bridge Shipyard in Orange, Texas was just one of many shipyards that were situated at the Port of Orange during World War II. The navy chose to establish yards at this Texas port in hopes of enlarging already-existing small facilities into large-scale industrial-level naval shipyards to support the war effort.
The American Bridge Company, the parent company of the shipyard, was originally established around 1900. Aside from bridges, the company built a number of vessels for the United States Navy during the war and also took on commercial work as well. The company owned several shipyards including the one in Orange.
In the 1950s, American Bridge Shipyard Orange acquired much of Consolidated Western Steel Corporation and continued to expand its operations, supplying and repairing ships for the Korean Conflict and continuing to service privately-owned vessels as well.
At one point during the war, literally thousands of individuals were employed at American Bridge Shipyard in Orange, Texas. They worked on a myriad of ships of all shapes and sizes and often they were exposed to dangerous substances while on the job. One of these substances - asbestos - was widely used on ships throughout the World War II era and beyond.
Asbestos could be found in just about every compartment of a ship because of its durability and unique heat- and fire-resistant properties. These properties meant that the men who sailed aboard these ships would remain as safe as possible despite the dangers of war.
However, those who worked with asbestos on a daily basis at American Bridge Shipyard Orange were far from safe. Each time they inhaled asbestos fibers, the dust became lodged in their lungs and could not be expelled. The result of this inhalation - for many individuals - was the development of asbestos-related diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma. Had these shipyard workers been warned of the dangers of asbestos, they would have worn masks or respirators to avoid exposure. However, no one ever told them asbestos was dangerous even though records show that many officials were aware of the hazards of the mineral.
If you worked at American Bridge Shipyard in Orange, Texas and have developed mesothelioma, you may have a right to compensation due to the fact that you were uninformed about the toxicity of asbestos. For more details, order our free mesothelioma information kit today.