The San Diego Naval Shipyard is located in San Diego, California and is the largest naval shipyard on the West Coast. The San Diego Naval Shipyard is the homeport to over one-third of the Navy’s Pacific Fleet. Unfortunately, San Diego Naval Shipyard workers were exposed to high asbestos levels at the shipyard. Many workers became seriously ill and developed severe and fatal diseases such as:

  • Mesothelioma (a rare cancer that affects the lining surrounding the lungs)
  • Asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
  • Lung cancer
  • Esophageal, stomach, colon, or rectum cancer

Asbestos at San Diego Naval Shipyard

Asbestos is a fibrous mineral that is fire and water resistant. Asbestos was used as insulation for numerous ship components, such as:

  • Boilers
  • Steam pipes
  • Cement
  • Hot water pipes
  • Incinerators
  • Gaskets

San Diego Naval Shipyard workers were unaware of the dangers of asbestos exposure. Asbestos is very dangerous when its fibers are released and inhaled. When inhaled, asbestos fibers remain lodged in the lungs and can cause severe and fatal cancers. Because the San Diego Naval Shipyard was poorly ventilated and the workers did not wear protective clothing or respiratory equipment, many workers inhaled the asbestos fibers and became ill with asbestos-related diseases, which can take up to 40 years to develop.

San Diego Naval Shipyard History

San Diego Naval Shipyard was established in 1910 by Glenn H. Curtiss. In 1917, the U.S. Army purchased and controlled the shipyard. In 1919, shortly after World War I, the shipyard was converted to a holding dock for the U.S. Navy’s Pacific fleet. San Diego Naval Shipyard also housed various military defense organizations including:

  • Commander Third Fleet
  • US Pacific Fleet
  • Commanders Carrier Group One and Seven
  • Commander Naval Air Force
  • Commanders Cruiser Destroyer Groups One and Five

San Diego Naval Shipyard during World War II

The San Diego Naval Shipyard flourished during World War II. The shipyard’s thousands of workers repaired, converted, and maintained over 5,100 vessels for the U.S. Navy. The workers repaired every type of naval vessel including destroyers, carriers, and cruisers. San Diego Naval Shipyard originated the use of floating docks and the shipyard’s workers built and maintained 155 floating dry docks. During World War II, the San Diego Naval Shipyard facility consisted of 29 buildings and a fleet training school.

San Diego Naval Shipyard Post-WW II

San Diego Naval Shipyard continued to expand after WWII ended. By 1946, the shipyard had grown to over 900 acres, 294 buildings, and 6.9 million square-feet of floor space. In addition, the facility housed over 17,000 men, including 300 Navy Officers and 14,000 shipyard employees.

Today, San Diego Naval Shipyard is part of the San Diego Naval Base Complex, which employs over 40,000 military personnel. The facility contains over 300 acres of Navy submarine facilities and the shipyard’s employees service various kinds of nuclear powered aircraft carriers.     

Asbestos Injuries at San Diego Naval Shipyard – California

If you or a loved has been injured by asbestos exposure while working at the San Diego Naval Shipyard, please contact us today as you may be entitled to compensation.   

Published November 17, 2011 by