Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Asbestos Exposure
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has an extensive history dating back to its establishment in 1800. The shipyard in Kittery, Maine was founded by President John Adams as one of the first federal shipyards in the United States. Its primary purpose was to construct and repair naval vessels for the growing U.S. Navy.
Throughout its existence, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard played a significant role in various conflicts. During the War of 1812, it contributed to the construction of warships crucial to the country’s defense. In subsequent years, the shipyard’s focus shifted towards submarine construction and maintenance. The Main Navy shipyard supported the Navy’s efforts in both World Wars by repairing and retrofitting submarines, similar to other coastal shipyards.
The shipyard’s skilled workforce and efficient operations were instrumental in maintaining and upgradings submarines for combat missions in the Pacific and Atlantic. Employment at the shipyard peaked at around 43,000 workers during World War II, while the shipyard was constructing over 75 ships and repairing nearly 7,000 U.S. and Allied ships.
Today, the Portsmouth shipyard remains an important asset of the U.S. Navy, it is responsible for the maintenance, overhaul, and modernization of the Navy’s nuclear-powered submarine fleet. The shipyard continues to contribute to the national defense by ensuring the readiness and reliability of these vital vessels.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Seavey Island, Kittery, Maine
Throughout its long history, Portsmouth Naval Shipyard has been responsible for the construction of numerous ships. Over time, asbestos found its way into military applications due to its remarkable heat resistance and durability. Ships contained the substance in insulation, fireproofing, and electrical components.
For a large part of the 1900s, asbestos offered protection against extreme temperatures and fires, making it an ideal choice for use in military vessels. However, the benefits of asbestos became insignificant once the military began phasing out its use of it in the 1970s following an increase in ongoing health complications. Prolonged exposure to asbestos fibers can lead to several health risks, such as Mesothelioma, other lung diseases and cancer.
Certain jobs are at a higher risk of asbestos exposure due to the nature of their work and the industries they are involved in. Jobs such as construction workers, shipyard workers, and demolition workers often deal with older buildings, structures, and ships that were constructed using asbestos-containing materials. When disturbed, these materials can release asbestos fibers into the air, which workers can inhale.
Shipyard jobs associated with asbestos exposure include:
- Construction workers
- Boiler operators
Shipyard workers exposed to asbestos on the job face significant health risks and potential long-term consequences. Inhalation of asbestos fibers can lead to respiratory conditions, including asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma. Navy workers who handled or came into contact with asbestos without proper protection are particularly vulnerable to these health hazards.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Notable Ships
Military shipyards are responsible for constructing various types of vessels, including Coast Guard cutters, which play a crucial role in maritime law enforcement. These shipyards also build naval warships such as aircraft carriers, destroyers, frigates, and submarines that serve in defense and combat missions. Additionally, replenishment oilers, amphibious assault ships, and landing craft support and enhance Naval operations.
USS Constitution, the world’s oldest commissioned warship afloat, was worked on and stored at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in the late-1800s. Vessels built at the Naval base in Portsmouth include USS Thresher and USS Albacore, which played significant roles in advancing submarine technology and capabilities. Other notable ships built or repaired at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard include:
- USS Texas, the first U.S. naval battleship to be commissioned
- USS Raleigh, the first modern cruiser built by the government
- USS Langley, the first aircraft in the U.S. Navy’s history, converted from USS Jupiter
The shipyard built and repaired ships during the Korean War, attaining nuclear technology capability in 1965, when they overhauled the USS Skate submarine.
Portsmouth Asbestos Injury Attorney – Legal Settlements and Lawsuits
Veterans may pursue legal action by filing a lawsuit against the manufacturers, suppliers, or employers responsible for their asbestos exposure. In these cases, veterans can work with attorneys specializing in asbestos litigation to seek an asbestos settlement directly from those entities. An asbestos settlement refers to a legal agreement reached between an individual or. a group of individuals and the parties responsible for their asbestos exposure. These settlements aim to provide compensation for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages resulting from asbestos-related illnesses.
Overall, veterans with asbestos-related health conditions have multiple avenues for seeking support. Whether through VA benefits or pursuing an asbestos settlement through legal channels, these options aim to provide much-needed assistance to veterans and service members affected by asbestos exposure.
For grieving families of asbestos victims, the Grieving Families Act of New York aims to support and assist families who have lost loved ones due to negligence. The act acknowledges the immense emotional and financial burden that grieving families can endure and recognizes the importance of compassionate care. The act seeks to alleviate some of the financial hardships that families can face, including funeral expenses, counseling services, and other necessary support.
VA Disability Rates
The VA offers disability compensation and healthcare benefits to eligible veterans. VA Disability provides essential support for medical treatment at highly-rated cancer treatment centers and financial assistance. Veterans exposed to asbestos during their military service who later developed a health condition can file a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) for disability benefits. These benefits are separate from traditional asbestos settlements and are available to veterans with service-connected asbestos-related conditions.
VA disability rates determine the compensation provided to veterans based on the severity of their service-connected disabilities or conditions. The 2023 disability rates are the most up-to-date numbers that determine how much compensation you will receive. If you have any more concerns or questions about your time on the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, our patient advocates at Mesothelioma Vets can help walk you through the process.