Charleston Naval Shipyard, also known as Charleston Navy Yard, was a Naval shipyard that focused on building and repairing military vessels throughout all the the U.S. wars. The shipyard was conveniently located in Charleston, North Carolina, close to edge of the Cooper River. The shipyard had important roles during the wars, particularly World War I and World War II, but despite its significance, asbestos was used excessively for years, resulting in a myriad of workers developing asbestos-related illnesses.
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Charleston Naval Shipyard History
Established in 1901, on 400 acres along the Cooper River, the Charleston Naval Shipyard began its operations by providing primary support and maintenance for numerous types of vessels, including surface ships, submarine tenders, cruisers, destroyers, frigates, and more.
During World War I, production greatly increased at Charleston Naval Shipyard. Employment skyrocketed during the war, with more than 5,000 people working at the shipyard. When the war ended, a lot of workers lost their job, and at the same time, they were leaving a job that exposed them to asbestos on a daily basis.
The shipyard had considerably less employees during the start of World War II, with an average of around 200 workers. That quickly changed however, during the peak of the war, when close to 26,000 people were hired.
During the wars, two of the largest vessels built at the Charleston Shipyard included the Bryce Canyon (AD-36) and the Tidewater (AD-31).
When the war ended, the shipyard became a repair and alteration area for German submarines that were captured. During the 1950s, when the Korean War reached its peak, the shipyard once again began building vessels. During the Vietnam War, the shipyard built several submarines (including nuclear submarines) and missiles.
The shipyard slowed down after the Vietnam War, but continued its operations in 1996, when it closed permanently. Shortly after its, closing numerous people who lived closed to the shipyard made complaints regarding the mounting numbers of people who were being diagnosed with pleural cancers around the area. The Department of Health and Environmental Control did a thorough evaluation of the community, and confirmed that the region had 4 times the amount of pleural cancers diagnoses than the normal, expected rate. Many of the diagnosed cases were from people who once worked at the Charleston Shipyard.
Asbestos at Charleston Naval Shipyard
It’s important to note that asbestos and asbestos-containing materials were frequently used and even required on most Naval ships. In turn, thousands of workers at the Charleston Naval Shipyard worked around the toxic mineral every day. Many of these workers ended up developing fatal diseases, including malignant mesothelioma and asbestos-related lung cancer.
The military knew that asbestos exposure was extremely dangerous, yet it continued on in numerous shipyards, including the Charleston Shipyard, for decades. In turn, a multitude of former workers and people who lived closed to the shipyard filed asbestos-related claims and mesothelioma lawsuits against the manufacturers that supplied asbestos products to the shipyard.
Additional Information and Resources
If you’ve been injured by mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, or asbestosis, keep in mind that there is a good chance that you’ll qualify for considerable 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 have questions or need additional assistance, contact us at 800-793-4540.