Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island was located in San Pedro Bay, California, and served the ports of San Pedro (Los Angeles Harbor) and Long Beach, California. Beginning in 1917, Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island operated as a ship repair and construction site until it was sold in 1981.

Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island History

Southwest Shipbuilding was established in 1917 and leased its shipyard to Bethlehem Steel in 1921. In 1945, Bethlehem Steel purchased the site and named it Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island. From that point on, Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island was exclusively a ship repair facility until World War II.

Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island during WWII   

In 1940, Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island stopped their ship repair operation and began fulltime ship construction for the U.S. Navy. Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island was one of several shipyards to receive funds from the Maritime Administration to construct warships during World War II.

During World War II, Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island constructed 26 destroyers including:

  • Four Benson-class warships
  • Ten Fletcher-class warships
  • Eight Allen G. Sumner-class destroyers
  • Four Gearings-class vessels

Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island worked very efficiently. With the exception of three Benson-class warships, all ships took less than a year to construct. The Norris was completed in only 253 days.

Asbestos at Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island

Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island’s employees were exposed to asbestos during ship repair and construction. Asbestos, a durable and fire-resistant mineral, was used in various shipbuilding materials including insulation and siding. When asbestos fibers become exposed and inhaled, they can cause severe and fatal cancers, such as:

  • Mesothelioma (a rare cancer that affects the lining surrounding many of the body’s internal organs)
  • Asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
  • Lung cancer
  • Esophageal, stomach, colon, or rectum cancer

Because the dangers of asbestos exposure were unknown, Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island’s workers, like most shipyard workers, did not wear protective clothing or respiratory equipment. As a result, many of these workers inhaled large amounts of asbestos over long periods of time and are now at risk for developing asbestos-related diseases.

Asbestos Injuries at Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island – California

If you or a loved one has been injured by asbestos exposure that occurred while working at the Bethlehem Steel Shipyard Terminal Island, please contact us today to assess your legal rights.

Published November 17, 2011 by