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ASBESTOS EXPOSURES SUFFERED ON NAVY SHIPS

For decades, the attorneys at Levy Konigsberg have proudly represented Navy veterans and their families. Between the 1940s and 1990s, hundreds of thousands of sailors toiled in the cramped workspaces of naval vessels, operating machinery and equipment that kept their ships seaworthy. Unbeknownst to our veterans, much of the equipment they operated and regularly repaired contained numerous asbestos components that poisoned their lungs. Years of investigation and litigation has revealed that the companies who enriched themselves through government contracts to supply safe equipment to the Navy were aware of the link between asbestos exposure from their products and lung disease.

Much of the asbestos exposure suffered aboard these vessels occurred in the boiler rooms and engineering spaces. Sailors of various ratings, including boilertenders, machinist mates, electricians, firemen, and equipment operators, regularly worked in poorly ventilated, cramped workspaces, operating and maintaining various pieces of equipment that kept the vessels moving. Equipment, including boilers, pumps, valves, tanks, condensers, and turbines, required around-the-clock oversight, and regular maintenance.

Asbestos exposure aboard these vessels was extensive. For example, in the engineering spaces, sailors were required to understand, operate and repair numerous pumps. Generally, each engine room contained one primary pump and one backup pump, if not more, in case of a pump malfunction. A variety of pumps, including overboard brine pumps, condensate pumps, fuel pumps, water pumps, condenser pumps, fire pumps and bilge pumps, carried out different operations, but all contained numerous pieces of asbestos insulation. Working in close proximity to each other, sailors regularly opened these pumps, which first required removing thick asbestos insulation from the pump’s body. Then, using a knife or other tool, sailors would meticulously remove the worn asbestos gaskets and packing from the pump, which released thousands of asbestos fibers into the air. Once clean, sailors would install new asbestos components, often times fabricating gaskets and packing by hand from sheets of asbestos.

Other equipment in the engine rooms required just as much maintenance. Reduction gears, deaerating feed tanks, turbo generators, turbines, valves of all sizes, and air compressors were installed through the engineering spaces, and required constant oversight and maintenance. Like the pumps installed in these engine rooms, much of this equipment was heavily insulated with asbestos fiber due to the heat produced by the machinery. Working in close proximity, sailors removed this insulation, and regularly inspected the machinery for defects and maintenance needs. Various asbestos components, including gaskets, packing material, block, rope and insulation was regularly installed and replaced during cruises, to ensure proper performance while at sea.

Similarly, asbestos exposure was rampant in naval boiler rooms. Equipment regularly installed in these workspaces included boilers, forced air draft blowers, feed pumps, booster pumps, fuel oil service pumps, feed water tanks, fresh water tanks, valves and air compressors. Sailors in the boiler rooms were required to understand how to operate, maintain and repair all of this equipment. During cruises, sailors climbed into the boilers to scrape the machine clean, often removing worn gaskets, packing material and rope. Because this machinery was in constant use, around-the-clock maintenance of the machinery was required, which required regular changing of worn asbestos gaskets and packing.

In 2008, Levy Konigsberg represented Douglas Pokorney, in a lawsuit against several corporations whose products were installed in the boiler room of the USS Roan. Mr. Pokorney alleged that he was regularly exposed to vast amounts of asbestos dust from Foster Wheeler boilers installed on the USS Roan, while carrying out his boiler room duties. A Syracuse jury agreed, awarding $5 million dollars, and found Foster Wheeler liable for a significant portion of the damages due to Mr. Pokorney’s regular exposure to gaskets, insulation and other asbestos components installed on the ship’s boilers. Like many other defendants, Foster Wheeler attempted to place responsibility on the Navy, despite knowing for decades that a link existed between exposure to asbestos and lung disease. This argument was rejected by the jury. For more information on this case, please click here.

Some of the Navy ships where we have confirmed that many workers suffered significant asbestos exposures include the following:

• SS Atlantic
• SS Borinquen
• SS Carrier Pigeon
• SS Cape Nome
• SS Colgate Victory
• SS Export Champion
• SS Export Courier
• SS Exminster
• SS Flying Arrow
• SS Flying Hawk
• SS Flying Trader
• SS Frederick E. Williamson (1944)
• SS Hawaiian Planter
• SS Hong Kong Transport
• SS Manhattan (1962)
• SS Marine Adder
• SS Marine Jumper
• SS Marine Tiger
• SS Matsonia (aka Etolin)
• SS Mormaclark
• SS Mormacmail (1946)
• SS Mormacmar
• SS Mormacsun
• SS Mormacsurf
• SS Muhlenberg Victory
• SS Sea Pegasus
• SS Sea Tiger
• SS Wabash Victory
• SS Yale Victory
• USCGC Acacia (WAGL-406)
• USS Admiral E.W. Eberle (AP-123)
• USS Alamosa (AK-156)
• USS Albany (CA-123)
• USS Albert T. Harris (DE-447)
• USS Alcor (AK-259)
• USS Alexander Hamilton (SSBN-617)
• USS Alhena (AKA-9)
• USS Allagash (AO-97)
• USS America (CV-66)
• USS Archer-Fish (SS-311)
• USS Ashland (LSD-1)
• USS Baltimore (CA-68)
• USS Benham (DD-796)
• USS Benjamin Franklin (SSBN-640)
• USS Benner (DD-807)
• USS Bennington (CV-20)
• USS Betelgeuse (AK-28, AKA-11)
• USS Betelgeuse (AK-260)
• USS Billfish (SSN-676)
• USS Black (DD-666)
• USS Block Island (CVE-106)
• USS Blue (DD-744)
• USNS Blue Jacket (T-AF-51)
• USS Bon Homme Richard (CV-31)
• USS Boston (CA-69)
• USS Boxer (CV-21)
• USS Bridget (DE-1024)
• USS Brinkley Bass (DD-887)
• USS Bristol (DD-857)
• USS Brownson (DD-868)
• USS Bunker Hill (CV-17)
• USS Burdo (APD-133)
• USS Cadmus (AR-14)
• USS Canberra (CA-70)
• USS Canisteo (AO-99)
• USS Carter Hall (LSD-3)
• USS Casa Grande (LSD-13)
• USS Casablanca (CVE-55)
• USS Cassin (DD-372)
• USS Cassin Young (DD-793)
• USS Catoctin (AGC-5)
• USS Chandeleur (AV-10)
• USS Charles H. Roan (DD-853)
• USS Charles J. Badger (DD-657)
• USS Charles R. Ware (DD-865)
• USS Charles S. Sperry (DD-697)
• USS Chicago (CA-136)
• USS Chipola (AO-63)
• USS Cimarron (AO-22)
• USS Clamagore (SS-343)
• USS Cleveland (CL-55)
• USS Collett (DD-730)
• USS Comfort (AH-6)
• USS Compton (DD-705)
• USS Cone (DD-866)
• USS Constellation (CV-64)
• USS Coontz (DDG-40)
• USS Coral Sea (CV-43)
• USS Croaker (SS-246)
• USNS Curtiss (T-AVB-4)
• USS Custer (APA-40)
• USS Dahlgren (DLG-12)
• USS Darter (SS-576)
• USS Davis (DD-937)
• USS Delong (DE-684)
• USS Des Moines (CA-134)
• USS Dewey (DDG-45)
• USS Dixie (AD-14)
• USS Donner (LSD-20)
• USS Douglas H. Fox (DD-779)
• USS Du Pont (DD-941)
• USS DuPage (APA-41)
• USS English (DD-696)
• USS Entemedor (SS-340)
• USS Enterprise (CV-6)
• USS Enterprise (CVN-65)
• USS Essex (CV-9)
• USS Evans (DE-1023)
• USS Everglades (AD-24)
• USS Fargo (CL-106)
• USS Farragut (DLG-6)
• USS Fayette (APA-43)
• USS Finback (SSBN-670)
• USS Fiske (DD-842)
• USS Flasher (SS-249)
• USS Fletcher (DD-445)
• USS Flying Fish (SS-229)
• USS Flying Fish (SSN-673)
• USS Foote (DD-511)
• USS Forrestal (CV-59)
• USS Fort Mandan (LSD-21)
• USNS Pvt. Francis X. McGraw (T-AK-241)
• USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CV-42)
• USS Fred T. Berry (DD-858)
• USS Fulton (AS-11)
• USS Gatling (DD-671)
• USNS Geiger (T-AP-197)
• USS George Bancroft (SSBN-643)
• USS Gillette (DE-681)
• USS Glenard P. Lipscomb (SSN-685)
• USS Glennon (DD-840)
• USS Greenling (SSN-614)
• USS Grundy (APA-111)
• USS Gunston Hall (LSD-44)
• USS Gunston Hall (LSD-5)
• USS Gurke (DD-783)
• USS Hailey (DD-556)
• USS Hambleton (DD-455)
• USS Hammerberg (DE-1015)
• USS Hanson (DD-832)
• USS Harder (SS-568)
• USS Haynsworth (DD-700)
• USS Hazelwood (DD-536)
• USS Heermann (DD-532)
• USS Helena (CA-75)
• USS Henrico (APA-45)
• USS Hilary P. Jones (DD-427)
• USS Holder (DD-819)
• USS Hopewell (DD-681)
• USS Hornet (CV-12)
• USS Howard D. Crow (DE-252)
• USS Hugh Purvis (DD-709)
• USS Hull (DD-945)
• USS Hunley (AS-31)
• USS Independence (CV-62)
• USS Intrepid (CV-11)
• USS Iowa (BB-61)
• USS Iwo Jima (LPH-2)
• USS James E. Kyes (DD-787)
• USS John King (DDG-3)
• USS John Paul Jones (DD-932)
• USS John R. Pierce (DD-753)
• USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (DD-850)
• USS Kearsarge (CV-33)
• USS Kennebec (AO-36)
• USS Keppler (DD-765)
• USS Kidd (DD-661)
• USS King (DDG-41 )
• USS Kitty Hawk (CV-63)
• USS Krishna (ARL-38)
• USCGC Kukui (WAK-186)
• USS Kyne (DE-744)
• USS L.Y. Spear (AS-36)
• USS Lafayette (SSBN-616)
• USS Laffey (DD-724)
• USS Lake Champlain (CV-39)
• USS Lexington (CV-16)
• USS Leyte (CV-32)
• USS Liberty (AGTR-5)
• USS Little Rock (CL-92)
• USS LST-274
• USS LST-316
• USS Ludlow (DD-438)
• USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8)
• USS L.Y. Spears (AS-36)
• USS Macon (CA-132)
• USS Major (DE-796)
• USS Marias (AO-57)
• USS Markab (AD-21)
• USS Marlboro (APB-38)
• USS Mars (AFS-1)
• USS Meade (DD-602)
• USS Midway (CV-41)
• USS Missouri (BB-63)
• USS Mitscher (DL-2)
• USS Monongahela (AO-42)
• USS Monrovia (APA-31)
• USS Mount McKinley (AGC-7)
• USS Murphy (DD-603)
• USS Nantahala (AO-60)
• USS Narwhal (SS-167)
• USS Narwhal (SSN-671)
• USS Nautilus (SSN-571)
• USS Neches (AO-47)
• USS Nevada (BB-36)
• USS New Jersey (BB-62)
• USS Newport News (CA-148)
• USS Nitro (AE-2)
• USS Noa (DD-841)
• USS North Carolina (BB-55)
• USS Northampton (CLC-1)
• USS O’Hare (DD-889)
• USS Oak Hill (LSD-7)
• USS Ohio (SSGN-726)
• USS Okinawa (LPH-3)
• USS Oklahoma City (CL-91)
• USS Oregon City (CA-122)
• USS Orion (AS-18)
• USS Oriskany (CV-34)
• USS Osberg (DE-538)
• USS Patoka (AO-9)
• USS Philip (DD-498)
• USS Picuda (SS-382)
• USS Pinkney (APH-2)
• USS Piper (SS-409)
• USS Pocono (AGC-16)
• USS Prairie (AD-15)
• USS Prevail (AM-107)
• USS Princeton (CV-37)
• USS Providence (CL-82)
• USS Raleigh (LPD-1)
• USS Randolph (CV-15)
• USS Renshaw (DD-499)
• USS Renville (APA-227)
• USS Richard B. Russell (SSN-687)
• USS Richard E. Byrd (DDG-23)
• USS Richard S. Edwards (DD-950)
• USS Ringgold (DD-500)
• USS Robert A. Owens (DD-827)
• USS Robert D. Conrad (T-AGOR-3)
• USS Robert H. McCard (DD-822)
• USS Rodman (DD-456)
• USS Salem (CA-139)
• USS San Pablo (AVP-30)
• USS Saratoga (CV-3)
• USS Saratoga (CV-60)
• USS Sarsfield (DD-837)
• USS Saufley (DD-465)
• USS Schroeder (DD-501)
• USS Sea Robin (SS-407)
• USNS Sgt. Archer T. Gammon (T-AK-243)
• USS Shenandoah (AD-26)
• USS Shreveport (LPD-12)
• USS Sierra (AD-18)
• USS Sigsbee (DD-502)
• USS Sims (DE-154)
• USS Skagit (AKA-105)
• USS Soley (DD-707)
• USS Somers (DD-947)
• USS South Dakota (BB-57)
• USS Southerland (DD-743)
• USS Springfield (CL-66)
• USS Stormes (DD-780)
• USS Stribling (DD-867)
• USS Surfbird (AM-383)
• USS Sylvania (AFS-2)
• USS Tennessee (BB-43)
• USS Thetis Bay (CVE-90)
• USS Thomas J. Gary (DE-326)
• USS Ticonderoga (CV-14)
• USS Topeka (CL-67)
• USS Trigger (SS-564)
• USS Trout (SS-566)
• USS Turner (DD-834)
• USS Turner Joy (DD-951)
• USS Tusk (SS-426)
• USNS Upshur (T-AP-198)
• USS Valley Forge (CV-45)
• USS Vancouver (LPD-2)
• USS Waccamaw (AO-109)
• USS Waldron (DD-699)
• USS Walton (DE-361)
• USS Warrington (DD-843)
• USS Wasatch (AGC-9)
• USS Wasp (CV-18)
• USS Wilkinson (DL-5)
• USS William R. Rush (DD-714)
• USS Willis A. Lee (DD-929)
• USS Windsor (APA-55); SS Excelsior
• USS Woolsey (DD-437)
• USS Worcester (CL-144)
• USS Yellowstone (AD-27)
• USS Yorktown (CV-10)
• USS Zeal (AM-131)

If you or a loved one served aboard a Navy ship and have developed an asbestos-related disease, including mesothelioma or lung cancer, please call our office today for a free consultation.

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