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After spending 25 years building iron bridges and tunnels for a variety of companies Henry G. Morse decided to start his own company, a state of the art shipyard.

He originally wanted the yard to sit on Staten Island, but opted instead for a site with better land and rail facilities, and access to a great number of experienced shipyard workers. Morse built his yard in Camden, NJ in 1899 and named it The New York Shipbuilding Company.


Morse ran his business according to five principals when he opened its doors in 1900. The first principal embraced a template system, which required fabrication work to be done separately. The second called for all major parts to be prefabricated. The third required that overhead cranes aid movement of parts to each part of the shipyard. The Fourth assured that weather would not delay production by requiring that all shipping ways be roofed. And lastly, many of the tasks that were normally completed during outfitting were to be finished before launch.

The company launched its first ship, the MS Dollar, in 1901. This ship was followed by a series of tankers for Gulf Oil including the warship Washington, and the battleships USS Michigan, USS Utah, USS Arkansas, and USS Oklahoma.

New York Shipbuilding became the largest shipyard in the world during WWI, as it added its middle and southern yards. Before the next world war, the company already had 44 ships on active duty. Then during WWII, NYS built the USS Saratoga (CV-3). Converted to an aircraft carrier in accordance with the “Washington Treaty,” the Saratoga was originally intended to be a battle cruiser. New York Shipbuilding supplied 26 heavy combat ships to the Navy during the war. These included 3 seaplane tenders, 2 destroyer tenders, 8 light cruisers, 9 light aircraft, 1 repair ship, 2 battlecruisers, and 1 battleship. At this time, New York Ship populated its yard with over 30,000 male and female workers.

After the war, New York Ship produced a series of nuclear submarines. Still, by the mid-sixties, demand for New York Shipbuilding’s services had all but disappeared, and the company closed down in 1967.

New York Shipbuilding employed shipyard workers and Navy veterans. Those working there were unknowingly exposed to dangerous asbestos which has been identified as causing mesothelioma. Fortunately, there is quality medical care available for veterans and non-veterans alike.

If you are among the veterans exposed to asbestos at this or other shipyards you may be eligible for compensation. Many mesothelioma navy cases are currently being filed by mesothelioma attorneys on behalf of veterans. Please fill out our form to the right to find out more.

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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