Lockheed Shipbuilding

Lockheed Shipbuilding in Seattle, Washington, was a Naval shipyard operation established nearly 100 years ago. Before its closure in the 1980s, veterans and shipyard workers faced exposure to asbestos and other toxins in products such as insulation, gaskets, and adhesives. Its release into the air often occurred during routine repairs, construction, and demolition, leading to potential health risks for anyone exposed.

Lockheed Shipbuilding

History of Asbestos Use at Lockheed Shipbuilding

The Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company established itself in the 1930s before taking over the Puget Sound Bridge & Dredging Company in 1959. Its primary location was on Harbor Island in Seattle, Washington, near the Duwamish River. The company operated additional facilities in Los Angeles, CA, and Long Beach, CA, constructing numerous ships for the U.S. Navy during World War II and other conflicts. Changing defense priorities and economic factors forced the shipyard to close in 1987.

Some of the more notable shipbuilding projects by Lockheed Shipbuilding include the construction of the USS Reasoner and USS Shreveport in the 1960s. Around this time, ship construction companies used large amounts of asbestos products throughout U.S. shipyards, including Lockheed Shipbuilding. Asbestos is a versatile mineral that companies once used to manufacture insulation products and other processed applications.

Shipyard workers at Lockheed Shipbuilding and other shipyards around the United States did not fully understand the risks associated with working around asbestos, posing a significant health threat. Numerous employees at Lockheed Shipbuilding later developed cancer or other conditions such as asbestosis. Previous Lockheed Shipbuilding workers and veterans should be aware of any potential asbestos exposure that occurred during their employment there. The timeframe between asbestos exposure and the development of cancer can last decades.

Asbestos Exposure at Lockheed Shipbuilding

Over the years, Lockheed underwent various changes, requiring demolition and construction projects that potentially led to asbestos exposure. Exposure spots occurred around heat-resisting materials such as insulation and fireproofing gear, often affecting shipbuilders, welders, pipefitters, insulators, and other personnel. This service-related asbestos exposure occurred when workers altered or tampered with asbestos-containing materials, releasing microscopic fibers into the air. Shipyard workers could have come into contact with various ship components that contained asbestos, including:

  • Insulation
  • Boilers
  • Pipes
  • Gaskets
  • Valves
  • Ceiling panels
  • Pumps
  • Welding gear
  • Protective gear
  • Adhesives & Sealants

Commercial and industrial operations at the shipyard led to contaminated groundwater, sediment, and soil. In 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) added the shipyard to the National Priorities List to reduce the contaminants. The Superfund cleanup site was divided into smaller portions throughout Harbor Island, called operable units. During cleanup, the Lockheed Shipyard Operable Unit occurred on the West side of Harbor Island while the EPA removed contaminated soil. Cleanup efforts of the East Waterway Operable Unit are currently underway.

USS Schofield’s Role in the Vietnam War and Asbestos Use

Commissioned in 1967, the USS Schofield, a guided-missile escort ship, played a pivotal role in the Vietnam War, earning four battle stars for its commendable service. Constructed in 1963 at Lockheed Shipbuilding, the ship underwent crucial overhauls in 1971 and 1972 at Long Beach Naval Shipyard. Amid its active duties and deployments, the USS Schofield, like many naval vessels of its time, used asbestos-containing materials, posing potential health risks for workers and crew. This aspect highlights the lingering consequences of asbestos use during the ship’s years of service from 1968 to 1988.

USS Juneau’s Contributions and Asbestos Exposure

The USS Juneau, one of several ships named after Alaska’s capital, was built at Lockheed Shipbuilding in 1969. It assisted with various military operations, most notably during the Vietnam War. USS Juneau, aka “Big J,” aka “Mighty J,” assisted in transporting troops to the Persian Gulf for Operation Desert Storm. After years of service, the USS Juneau was decommissioned in 2008 and became part of the National Defense Reserve Fleet to support national emergencies. It’s currently waiting for disposal in Oahu, Hawaii.

Puget Sound Bridge & Dredging Company Asbestos History

The Puget Sound Bridge & Dredging Company was founded in 1898 by a group of businessmen led by William Pigott. Initially known as the Seattle Construction & Dry Dock Company, it started as a shipbuilding and repair facility near Elliott Bay in Seattle. In the late 1950s, the shipbuilding, dredging, and construction company underwent a name change to Lockheed Shipbuilding and Construction Company after Lockheed Corporation acquired a majority of its shares. Puget Sound also has a great healthcare system in Seattle and Tacoma.

During operation, the demand for maritime construction projects grew, leading the the rapid expansion of its operations. Puget Sound quickly helped reshape the waterfront and harbor facilities in Seattle. Ships built at Puget Sound in the 1930s likely contained portions of asbestos products.

Seattle Mesothelioma Lawyer for Shipyard Workers

The challenges and uncertainties that come with a mesothelioma diagnosis are a concern for many in Seattle due to the city’s historical connection with shipyards and asbestos exposure. Individuals who worked at Lockheed Shipbuilding and developed an asbestos-related illness as a result may consider legal lawsuit avenues to receive compensation. Even if you no longer live in Seattle, you should still seek representation.

Navigating the complex process of filing a lawsuit as a retired or active shipyard worker can be overwhelming, but you deserve justice and compensation for the harm caused by asbestos exposure. A mesothelioma lawyer for shipyard workers specializes in providing legal representation to individuals who have developed an asbestos-caused disease due to exposure in shipyards. These lawyers understand the challenges you and your family may be facing.

Your mesothelioma attorney serves as an advocate while aiming to maximize your potential compensation. This includes pursuing damages for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other losses associated with your illness. Your journey to justice starts with a case evaluation, provided by an expert and compassionate legal team ready to assist you. Don’t delay, take control of your legal situation and explore your options while the statute of limitations remains in effect.