Located in Ingleside, Tex., the Naval Station Ingleside is a United States Navy base on the shores of Corpus Christi Bay, 150 miles south of San Antonio. The Naval Station was built along the shores of the Corpus Christi channel, linking the Gulf of Mexico to the Port of Corpus Christi.
The base officially opened in 1988 as the intended “home” of the USS Wisconsin and USS Lexington. When these vessels were decommissioned in 1991, the station was repurposed as the Navy’s Mine Warfare Center of Intelligence.
As a result of the repurposing, Naval Station Ingleside became the docking location of mine countermeasure ships in the Avenger Class, and Osprey Class mine hunters. Much of the Navy’s mine countermeasure activity was realized at the facility.
In 2005, realignment efforts resulted in a decision to close the Naval Station Ingleside, and the main base is expected to close by September 2010.
During its years as a Naval facility, Naval Station Ingleside repaired, restored and maintained many older ships which were docked, wither temporarily or permanently, at the base. Many of these ships, like many ships which ply the waters today, contained parts and materials which were composed of asbestos, a very common additive to marine products prior to the mid 1970s, when health risks caused the use of asbestos to be banned in marine manufacture.
Asbestos was considered an ideal material for the manufacture of marine parts and materials, including coatings for insulation and waterproofing. Offering high resistance to both heat and corrosion, the silica-based mineral seemed like the perfect component for parts and materials which would be regularly exposed to extremes of both temperature and moisture levels.
But asbestos occurs as a lightweight fiber, and its dust like particles are released during construction and restoration work. Once these particles are airborne, they can easily be inhaled by shipyard workers in the vicinity of the repair work. In the body, they lodge permanently in the lungs and other organs, and can cause a host of potentially deadly effects, including asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung cancer.
In many individuals, the symptoms of malignant mesothelioma do not show up until decades after the exposure. If you worked for the Naval Station Ingleside facility, you should speak with your medical care professional about your potential for these asbestos-related illnesses as mesothelioma navy cases are most common.