The Boston Naval Shipyard was originally established in 1800 as the Charlestown Navy Yard. In the early 1800s it had one of the only major naval dry docks in the country. Over its 174 years in active service, the Navy Yard played a vital role in the development and strength of the United States Navy. More than 200 warships were built at the Boston Navy Yard, and thousands more were maintained and repaired there. The shipyard consisted of its original site in Charlestown as well as the South Boston Naval Annex, where larger vessels could be accommodated. In 1960 the yard included a Marine railway, four graving docks, two shipways, 161 buildings, including a rope walk and chain forge, and 21 miles of railroad track leading to 24 piers. The military conflicts of the time were in Asia, however; and the location of an east coast shipyard lost its effectiveness and the shipyard closed in 1974. Today, 30 acres of the 130 acre yard remains a National Historic Park with its original name, the Charlestown Navy Yard. It berths the oldest commissioned ship in the U.S. Navy, the U.S.S. Constitution.
Unfortunately, through much of the twentieth century, the employees of the Boston Naval Shipyard were exposed to large quantities of asbestos. Most of the ships built and serviced at the shipyard were powered by steam. The boilers, turbines and miles of pipes on the vessels were insulated with asbestos and asbestos containing materials. There were other uses of asbestos on ships, including gaskets, cement, electrical equipment and fireproof bulkheads, or walls. During construction and maintenance of ships, insulators, electricians, plumbers, welders and pipefitters may have been exposed to these asbestos-containing materials. Those who also worked near or in the vicinity of those who repaired and maintained asbestos-containing materials were also at risk for exposure to asbestos fibers.
Having represented workers from the Boston Navy Yard since 1978, the Boston, Massachusetts attorneys at Thornton Law Firm have gathered a vast amount of information concerning the type and variety of asbestos-containing products to which our clients were exposed. If you or a loved one once worked at the Boston Navy Yard and have been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease such as mesothelioma or lung cancer, please contact us for a free case evaluation or call us at (888) 491-9726.