Page Updated: June 05, 2019

Shipyards and Asbestos

Shipyard workers were one of the highest-exposed people to asbestos for many years. From War War I until the Korean War, thousands of shipyard workers and shipbuilders were constantly exposed to asbestos. Consequently, the shipyard industry has some of the highest rates of mesothelioma and other asbestos-related illnesses.

If you or a loved one were diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may be eligible for a large amount of compensation. Currently, there is over $30 billion in asbestos trust funds, set up for those who have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related illness. Fill out our form to get a free Financial Compensation Packet. You’ll learn about the top mesothelioma lawyers in your area, how to get paid in 90 days, how to file a claim for the asbestos trust funds, and more.

ship building inside of shipyard

History of U.S. Shipyards and Asbestos

From the 1920s until the 1980s, the United States remained one of the leading countries of shipbuilding. During this time, millions of people constructed vessels while using steel and asbestos as the leading substances. Although the workers were supervised and trained accordingly, asbestos exposure caused fatal illnesses in over half of all shipbuilders who worked around asbestos.

In 1944, close to 50 new ships were hitting the water in the U.S. each day, and over 1.7 million people worked on and/or constructed these these vessels. Chrysotile and crocidolite asbestos was used frequently, but amosite asbestos was used the most in vessel pipe insulation. By the end of World War II, more than 4 million people had been exposed to all three types of asbestos.

Shipbuilding decline War War II. From the late 1940s until the late 1970s, there were around 200,000 shipbuilders per years. Although the number of workers declined, the use of asbestos did not, and many workers after World War II developed life-threatening illnesses.

Currently, only a few shipyards remain, but each year, victims of asbestos-related diseases or their family members file claims for compensation against the manufacturers that provided asbestos and asbestos-related projects to the shipbuilding industry.

Although many asbestos manufacturers have set us asbestos trust funds to compensate claimants, there are shady businesses out there that attempt to fight valid asbestos claims and/or shift the blame elsewhere.

Millions of people have lost their health and now live with incurable diseases due to asbestos manufacturers. Other people have lost loved ones to asbestos illnesses, and the number of casualties are expected to grow.

Old shipyard

U.S. Shipyards That Used Asbestos

 Companies That Supplied Asbestos to Shipyards

  • National Gypsum
  • Johns Manville
  • GAF Corporation
  • Syd Carpenter Marine Contractor
  • John Crane, Inc.
  • McCormick Asbestos Company
  • Foster Wheeler Corporation
  • Owens-Illinois Glass
  • Willman Asbestos

Is the U.S. Government Responsible for Veterans Exposed to Asbestos in Shipyards?

Under the Feres Doctrine, military veterans can’t sue the government for damages associated with asbestos exposure. However, veterans may qualify for benefits under the Veterans Administration (VA), including free medical care and disability compensation. For additional information on how to file for benefits with the VA, feel free to contact us at 800-694-4856.

Although veterans can’t take the government to court, they can file for damages against the asbestos manufacturers and companies that supplied the military with asbestos-containing products. The aforementioned companies that supplied asbestos products to the military have faced and lost numerous mesothelioma lawsuits that were filed against them by veterans.

Can Civilians Who Worked At Shipyards File a Lawsuit?

Civilians as well as veterans have the legal right to file a mesothelioma lawsuit or asbestos-related claim against the companies that supplied asbestos products to the shipyards. Speak to an experienced asbestos attorney who can help you understand what your options are.

Additional Resources and Help for Asbestos Victims

Remember, if you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, you may qualify for significant compensation. Don’t forget to fill out our form to get our free Financial Compensation Packet, filled with information on the leading asbestos and mesothelioma attorneys in your area. If you need additional assistance, contact us toll-free at 800-793-4540. 


Photo Source: US Naval Historical Center; Public Domain