History of American Shipbuilding

American Shipbuilding was founded as Cleveland Shipbuilding in 1888. American Shipbuilding was originally located in Cleveland, Ohio and for many years dominated the shipbuilding industry of the Great Lakes. Due to its economic success and abundance of work, American Shipbuilding was able to expand to other locations nationwide, including Superior, Wisconsin; West Bay City, Michigan; Toledo, Ohio; Chicago, Illinois; and Buffalo, New York.

The main facility of American Shipbuilding remained in Lorain, Ohio. The American Shipbuilding site included two 1,000 foot dry docks that were able to accommodate vessels of large size. American Shipbuilding built and repaired many different vessels that included:

  • steamships
  • tankers
  • tank barges
  • ore carriers
  • lakers
  • cutters
  • ferries
  • tugs
  • cargo ships
  • mine sweeps

After nearly a century of successful shipyard operations, the American Shipbuilding yard was hurt by the continued decline of the Great Lakes shipping industry. The American Shipbuilding Company turned to defense contracts in an attempt to stimulate production but was forced to close the Lorain shipyard in 1984.  

Asbestos & American Shipbuilding

Shipyard workers hold one of the most dangerous occupations for asbestos exposure. American Shipbuilding was built before the dangers of asbestos exposure were realized. Prior to the 1980s, asbestos was used extensively in shipyard operations. Because the serious health risks of asbestos were unknown and American Shipbuilding shipyard workers were unprotected when working with asbestos containing materials, many former American Shipbuilding employees were exposed to large amounts of asbestos over a long period of time.

In recent years, many American Shipbuilding employees have developed serious and potentially fatal diseases due to asbestos exposure.

As an older industrial ship company and shipyard, American Shipbuilding workers used asbestos containing materials and worked in vessels made with asbestos. Asbestos was an ideal insulation material for shipbuilding and repair because of its properties to resist corrosion, high temperatures, and its fireproofing ability. Asbestos was used at the American Shipbuilding yards in various areas of the ships and machinery, including:

  • Boilers
  • Turbines
  • Electrical and plumbing insulation
  • Pumps
  • Steam pipe
  • Incinerators
  • Gaskets
  • Valves
  • Welding blankets
  • Building insulation

People who worked at the American Shipbuilding are at a great risk for developing serious health complications from asbestos exposure. When asbestos materials are manipulated, a fibrous asbestos dust can be released into the air. When this dust is inhaled or ingested, it lodges in the body and can cause serious diseases. Some of these serious diseases can include:

  • Mesothelioma (a cancer of the protective lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs, including the lungs)
  • Lung cancer
  • Asbestosis (lung tissue scarring)
  • Cancer in a number of other organs

If you think you have been exposed to asbestos at American Shipbuilding, speak to your physician right away. Authorities have estimated that over 100,000 shipyard workers have died due to asbestos exposure. Many of these life threatening diseases can take years to become symptomatic. Shipyard workers concerned for their health have sought legal advice regarding their asbestos injuries. Lawsuits brought by workers who were injured by asbestos have been successfully litigated around the country, awarding asbestos victims with compensation for their injuries.

Asbestos Injuries at American Shipbuilding – Ohio

If you or a loved one were exposed to asbestos at American Shipbuilding, contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal rights.

Published November 17, 2011 by