The Baltimore Marine Industries were created in 1997 out of the ruins of the Bethlehem Steel Company's Sparrows Point. The huge industrial site was productive in building ships and forging steel. In 1889, the Pennsylvania Steel Company began using Sparrows Point to create steel. As the biggest steel mill on earth, it resided on four miles of real estate and offered employment to tens of thousands of people. By the early 1960s, the company was churning out 672,000 tons of steel each year. But as technology advanced, the steel mill became more obsolete. This led to less use of the Sparrows Point mill. The company then changed hands several times, finally sold to a Russian organization in 2008.
Aside from steel production, the Sparrows Point yard was also a massive ship construction and maintenance facility. This facet of the company was established in 1889 and produced its first vessel in 1891. When Bethlehem Steel purchased the yard in 1917, it became one of the busiest shipyards in America. Between 1939 and 1946, they constructed one hundred and sixteen ships. In the 1970s, the corporation spent millions to modernize the yard, turning it into a state-of-the-art building site. They had the ability to build supertankers as long as twelve hundred feet and as large as 265,000 gross tons.
In the 1980s and '90s, the shipyard faced decline and financial difficulties. Finally, in 1997, Bethlehem steel sold the company to Baltimore Marine Industries. Although they attempted to revamp the yard, it was not successful. They maintained the site for overhaul and modernization of ships, but in 2003 it finally succumbed to financial problems and went into bankruptcy. At the time of its closing, two hundred employees had to be laid off. Almost immediately, the shipyard was purchased by the investment firm Barletta-Willis LLC for twelve million dollars. They planned to dismantle two Ghost Fleet ships that were considered environmental hazards due to their use of asbestos.
People who worked at Baltimore Marine Industries may have been exposed to hazardous products, including those made with asbestos. Those exposed to asbestos have been diagnosed with the rare cancer mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the lungs. Mesothelioma is a deadly and aggressive asbestos cancer. Those who believed they may have been exposed should seek immediate attention from a physician. Please fill out the form on this page for a free mesothelioma cancer and asbestos information packet for further information.