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HomeAsbestos ExposureExposure Sites by TypeShipyardsBethlehem Steel Shipyard -Terminal Island

Bethlehem Steel Shipyard at Terminal Island, also known as the Long Beach Naval Shipyard (LBNS), was established just prior to World War II, when it was recognized that a major anchorage and operations area was needed in Southern California.

This shipyard had a history of known asbestos exposure, putting many at risk to developing diseases caused by asbestos.


The location of Bethlehem Steel Shipyard at Terminal Island, between the cities of Long Beach and San Pedro and approximately 20 miles from Los Angeles, was chosen due to its protected basin on the Port of Long Beach and the fact that it was just miles from the open sea.

During the shipyard’s early years during the Second World War, it was responsible for routine and battle damage repairs of a number of different kinds of ships including tankers, destroyers, and cruisers. LBNS employees were capable of performing tasks related to structural, sheet metal, boiler, rigging, electronics, electrical, insulating, ordnance, sandblasting, welding, machining, woodworking, painting, pipe fitting, and other work necessary for the overhaul and repair of the ships that made their way to Long Beach. By the end of the war, 16,000 civilian employees, including engineers, laborers, clerks, and administrators, worked to accomplish all these tasks and keep the Navy moving.

Closing after the war, the shipyard was reactivated during the Korean Conflict and, until its final closure in 1997 it remained responsible for the repair and overhaul of the Navy’s non-nuclear surface ships.

Throughout its years of operation, Terminal Island Naval Shipyard was also involved in a number of special projects including Poseidon, Polaris, and Sealab, offering support or scientific projects in conjunction with these important naval programs.

During repair and overhaul procedures at Terminal Island, both civilian and military employees often worked amidst a continuous cloud of white dust, caused by damaged asbestos materials that were removed from ships without regard for the health of shipyard employees. Asbestos could be found in pipe insulation, gaskets, boilers, floor covering, cement, and many other materials used in the shipbuilding and repair process. Workers aboard these ships did not wear protective gear and projects were often completed in haste, especially during wartime, in order to ensure that ships would be operational in as little time as possible.

If you worked at Terminal Island/Long Beach Naval Shipyard and have been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you’ll want to take some time to learn more about your disease and your potential right to monetary compensation for your pain and suffering.

Written By

Tara Strand Senior Content Writer

Tara Strand specializes in researching and writing about asbestos, raising awareness and advocating for a ban.


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Reviewed By

Jennifer Lucarelli Legal Advisor and Contributor

Jennifer Lucarelli is a partner at the law firm of Early, Lucarelli, Sweeney & Meisenkothen, specializing in asbestos litigation.


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