Tommy Clary founded Orange Shipbuilding Co, in Orange, Texas in 1974. The company started out focusing on tugs and towboats and an occasional passenger boat.
In 1990, Orange Shipbuilding began delivering open lighters to the U.S. Navy and in 1993, tank barges, all still in active use today. They also built a series of towboats for the Corp of Engineers in 1995. This made the company attractive to Conrad Industries which acquired the company as a subsidiary in 1997.
Under Conrad Industry's control, Orange Shipbuilding has continued to build tugs, but now also builds deck barges and an occasional ferry. Orange Shipbuilding builds and provides repair services for barges, cargo and container ships, commercial marine craft, cruise ships, fishing boats, ferries, salvage ships, tankers, trawlers, and tug boats among others.
Between 1974 until the complete ban on asbestos use by the EPA in 1987, towboat engine rooms were outfitted with asbestos. This means that many workers in the Orange Shipbuilding yards were exposed to asbestos dust in the course of their work. For many of these workers, the symptoms of exposure are only now beginning to show up. For others it may take another 30 years.
Anyone who worked in the Orange Shipbuilding compound should be aware of the warning signs of asbestosis-shortness of breath, coughing, fluid in the lungs, pain in the chest and sometimes abdomen, difficulty sleeping, among others. Many of these symptoms can seem like a cold that won't go away or bronchitis, when in reality they indicate damage to the lungs.
The risk of developing mesothelioma, a type of cancer associated with asbestos exposure 70 to 80% of the time, is also higher among Orange Shipbuilding workers. The exact mechanism that precipitates the cancer is not known, but early detection is extremely important. Informing your physician of the asbestos exposure in your past will make identifying early warning signs easier.
Treatment of asbestosis and mesothelioma cancer is costly, usually requiring mesothelioma surgery and other interventions. The courts are ruling in favor of employees who were denied proper protection from exposure when the company had knowledge of the need for the protection and did not provide it. If you were exposed to asbestos while working at the Orange Shipbuilding yard, you should seek the advice of a mesothelioma attorney.