NORSHIPCO (Norfolk Shipbuilding & Dry-dock Corporation) was established in 1915 on the Port of Hampton Roads in Virginia. NORSHIPCO has contributed enormously to the U.S. Navy during the many major wars and has continued to service naval vessels. NORSHIPCO is ranked as one of the United States’ 100 largest defense contractors. While military contracts comprise the majority of NORSHIPCO’s workload, NORSHIPCO is also involved in civilian commercial vessel services. Today, NORSHIPCO has evolved to become the largest non-nuclear ship repair, conversion, and overhaul site in the country. NORSHIPCO remains the largest U.S. Naval facilities and a modern shipyard at the forefront of the newest shipyard technology.

NORSHIPCO Facilities

The NORSHIPCO Facility sits on 110 acres on the Southern shore of the Elizabeth River. NORSHIPCO facilities include a 1,000 foot controlled channel, a 950 ft long TITAN dry-dock, a 14,000 ton dry-dock, and a large amount of pier space. NORSHIPCO also provides offsite emergency repair services. As of 1998, NORSHIPCO employed nearly 2,200 shipyard workers.

Asbestos & NORSHIPCO

NORSHIPCO Shipyard was built many years before the dangers of asbestos exposure were publicly known. Prior to 1980, asbestos was used extensively in shipyard production. NORSHIPCO Shipyard workers who were employed before the 1980s were likely exposed to high levels of asbestos for  prolonged periods of time. A large number of NORSHIPCO workers are now at risk of serious health complications.

Shipyard workers at NORSHIPCO regularly used asbestos products and worked in vessels that were built with asbestos. Asbestos was considered an ideal material for ship production and repair because of its ability to fireproof materials, withstand extreme temperatures, and resist corrosion. Today the U.S. government regulates asbestos in the shipyard industry, but older ships may still contain asbestos. NORSHIPCO shipyard workers have likely been exposed to asbestos in recent years through the repair of older ships.

When NORSHIPCO shipyard workers used asbestos containing materials, a fibrous dust was released into the air. Because  NORSHIPCO shipyard workers worked in tight, poorly ventilated ship areas, asbestos inhalation was very likely. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can become lodged in the lungs or the protective lining of many of the body’s organs and cause severe and fatal diseases, such as: 

  • 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 other internal organs

If you think you were exposed to asbestos at NORSHIPCO, speak to your physician right away. Many asbestos diseases can take years to become symptomatic. An early diagnosis can help better manage some of these serious diseases. Authorities have estimated that nearly 100,000 shipyard workers, including some from NORSHIPCO, have died from asbestos diseases. In recent years, a number of shipyard companies, like NORSHIPCO, have been the targets of lawsuits brought by shipyard workers injured from asbestos exposure.

Asbestos Injuries at NORSHIPCO – Virginia

If you or a loved one worked for NORSHIPCO, you may have been exposed to asbestos. Contact our office today to learn more about your legal rights and options.

Published November 17, 2011 by