History of the Vancouver Shipyard

The Vancouver Shipyard, also known as the Kaiser Vancouver Shipyard, was established in 1942 by Henry Kaiser in Vancouver, Washington. The Vancouver Shipyard was built specifically to produce ships for the U.S. Navy and contributed enormously to the naval arsenal during WWII. Vancouver Shipyard was known to have a wartime production rate of nearly one ship every week.

Cargo ships, troop transports, and tank landing crafts were all successfully built at the Vancouver Shipyard. The success of the Vancouver Shipyard allowed Henry Kaiser to open additional ship yards in both Oregon and California. At its peak in ship production, the Vancouver Shipyard employed over 100,000 workers. After WWII, the Vancouver Shipyard closed.

Asbestos & the Vancouver Shipyard

Before the dangers of asbestos were known, asbestos was used extensively in Vancouver Shipyard operations. Asbestos is an ideal material for insulation use in shipbuilding and ship products because of its durability and fire resistance. However, asbestos exposure can cause serious and potentially lethal health complications. It was not until long after the Vancouver Shipyard closed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the use of asbestos materials in ships. At the Vancouver Shipyard, the following ship components and products likely contained asbestos:

  • Boilers
  • Turbines
  • Pumps
  • Steam pipe
  • Incinerators
  • Gaskets
  • Floor and ceiling tiles
  • Welding blankets
  • Building insulation

Shipyard workers at the Vancouver Shipyard were likely exposed to asbestos while producing ships for the U.S. Navy. To accommodate the war demand, Vancouver Shipyard workers built vessels very quickly, disrupting ship areas that contained asbestos. When asbestos is handled, a fibrous dust can be released into the air. When inhaled, asbestos fibers can cause cancerous growths and life threatening diseases, such as:

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

If you or a loved one worked at the Vancouver Shipyard, it is important that you notify your physician of your possible asbestos exposure. Symptoms of asbestos diseases can take decades to surface, but an early diagnosis can help to better manage some of these severe diseases. Authorities have estimated that nearly 100,000 shipyard workers have died from asbestos-related diseases, including some from the Vancouver Shipyard. In recent years, industrial ship companies, like the Vancouver Shipyard, have been successfully sued for exposing their employees to asbestos.

Asbestos Injuries at the Vancouver Shipyard – Washington

If you or a loved one worked at the Vancouver Shipyard, please contact us today to discuss your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation for your asbestos-related injuries.

Published November 17, 2011 by