The Charleston Navy Shipyard was established in 1901 on the shores of the Cooper River in Charleston, South Carolina. The Charleston Navy Shipyard, a 400 acre facility, played a crucial role in constructing and repairing military vessels through the 20th century. The Charleston Navy Complex consisted of a naval shipyard, the naval fleet and industrial supply center, fleet and mine warfare training center, and the naval reserve center.

Over the years, the Charleston Navy Shipyard specialized in constructing and repairing major military vessels including:

  • destroyers
  • cruisers
  • frigates
  • guided missile ships
  • submarines

History of the Charleston Navy Shipyard

The Charleston Navy Shipyard was founded in 1901 to manufacture U.S. Navy marine vessels. When the U.S. entered World War I, the Charleston Navy Shipyard played a leading role in ship production for the war effort. During the interim of the two World Wars, the Charleston Navy Shipyard became involved in the U.S. Navy’s aggressive cruiser building program.

By World War II, the Charleston Navy Shipyard employed nearly 26,000 workers. The Charleston Navy Shipyard quickly produced and repaired navy ships. The reputation of the Charleston Nay Shipyard’s versatility to build and repair vessels of different types and sizes, helped make it one of the most important shipyards at the time.

The end of World War II resulted in decreased demand for ship production. The Charleston Navy Shipyard shifted its operations to repairing submarines. During the Vietnam War, the Charleston Navy Shipyard expanded its activities to build missiles. In 1993, the Naval Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC) elected to close the Charleston Navy Complex. In April 1996, shipping operations at the Charleston Navy Shipyard ceased.

Asbestos & the Charleston Navy Shipyard

As an older shipyard and naval base, the Charleston Navy Shipyard contained many vessels rife with asbestos. Asbestos was used extensively in shipyard operations at the Charleston Navy Shipyard prior to discovering its health dangers in the 1980s. Asbestos was an ideal material to use in ships due to of its ability to fireproof materials, withstand extreme temperatures, and resist corrosion. Asbestos was used in various ship areas including:

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

When asbestos materials are manipulated, a fibrous dust can be released into the air. When this dust is inhaled or ingested, it lodges in the body and can cause inflammation, cancerous growths, or other symptoms that can be fatal. Charleston Navy Shipyard workers were unaware of asbestos’ dangers and worked with asbestos without wearing protective equipment. Shipyard workers have developed severe health problems due to their asbestos exposure that include:

  • lung cancer
  • asbestosis
  • Mesothelioma (a cancer of the protective lining that covers most of the body’s internal organs, including the lungs)

If you think you have been exposed to asbestos, inform your physician immediately. Authorities have estimated over 100,000 shipyard workers have died from asbestos-related diseases. Many industrial ship companies have been successfully sued for their liability in these asbestos injuries. Shipyard workers looking for help have turned to experienced asbestos lawyers.

Asbestos Injuries at the Charleston Navy Shipyard – South Carolina

If you or a loved one worked for the Charleston Navy Shipyard, you may have been exposed to asbestos. Asbestos exposure can result in serious health complications. First, talk to your physician about your health condition. Next, contact our offices to discuss the possibility of seeking compensation for your asbestos-related injuries.   

Published November 17, 2011 by