The Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, now known as the United States Coast Guard Yard or simply as the Coast Guard Yard, is based in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, on Curtis Bay. It is currently the U.S. Coast Guard’s primary shipbuilding and repair facility. In the past, however, the shipyard used excessive amounts of asbestos, leading to numerous workers developing fatal asbestos-related illnesses.
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Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard History
The Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, established in 1899, began as both a boat repair facility and a training academy. By 1910, however, the shipyard began building vessels and doing canvas work while continuing to repair boats. This continued throughout World War II, but the war brought about additional activities for the shipyard, including buoy manufacturing and construction, and complete vessel overhauls.
World War II also brought a newly constructed 3,000-ton dry dock to Curtis Bay Shipyard, as well as a new concrete pier and two new shipways. During this time, the shipyard was designated as the official U. S. Coast Guard Yard. An estimated 3,100 civilians workers were employed at the shipyard during the war.
As World War II ended, work ended for many employees as the shipyard focused on repairing vessels and building wooden boats. It also continued to overhaul old ships and create numerous 94-footers.
The shipyard greatly prospered throughout the 1960s, and when the Vietnam War began, the shipyard created 82-footers and steel self-righting motor lifeboats. By the 1970s, the shipyard buoys and overhaul the U.S. Coast Guard’s the coast guard’s 5″ 38 caliber gun mount.
Throughout most of shipyard’s history, asbestos and other harmful substances was used heavily. In fact, in 2002, the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) designated the shipyard as a EPA Superfund cleanup site. In 2008, the United States Coast Guard, signed a federal agreement with the EPA to clean up the shipyard.
Asbestos at Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard
The prevalence of asbestos at Curtis Bay Coast Guard was extremely excessive. More than 300 asbestos-containing products were used by the military before the EPA’s regulations on its use, and some of these products were used at Curtis Bay. Asbestos was known to have been used in the following at the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard:
- Electric wiring
- Electric equipment
- Deck coatings
- Flooring, and in
- Engine and boiler rooms
Asbestos may have also been used in:
- Life boats
- Utility boats
- Response boats
- Port security boats
Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard Lawsuits
In most instances, workers who developing asbestos-related illnesses while working at shipyard, filed asbestos-related lawsuits against the manufacturers that provided the asbestos-containing products to shipyard. The amount of asbestos manufacturers were numerous, many of which were large corporations that supplied asbestos products throughout the world.
One such asbestos manufacturer, Owens-Illinois Glass, faced a lawsuit from the family of Harry Hunter, a man who once worked at the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard in the summer of 1956. Hunter died of malignant mesothelioma in 2001, but his family carried out the lawsuit and eventually won $4.2 million for Hunter’s wrongful death. Unfortunately, since the lawsuit was filed in Maryland, state laws prevented the family from getting the total amount, and it was subsequently reduced.
Additional Help and Resources for Asbestos Victims
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. Remember to fill out our from to get your free Financial Compensation Packet, with information on leading asbestos and mesothelioma lawyers in your area.