In the 20th century, using asbestos in shipbuilding was common. Asbestos was a natural material valued for its insulating and non-corrosive properties—perfect for ships. Today, we know that working with asbestos can be deadly, and those who did so in the past may suffer devastating consequences even decades later. For example, people may have developed mesothelioma from Alabama Dry Dock and Shipping Company work.
Do you Have Mesothelioma From Alabama Dry Dock and Shipping Company Employment?
Most people don’t think a job can come back to haunt them decades later. But if you’ve worked with asbestos, that’s exactly what can happen.
Alabama Dry Dock and Shipping Company: The Early Years
In 1917, Ollinger and Bruce Drydock Company, Gulf City Boiler Works, Alabama Iron Works, and Gulf Dry Dock Company merged to become Alabama Dry Dock and Shipping Company, also known as ADDSCO. ADDSCO became one of the largest marine manufacturing centers in the earlier part of the 20th century, dedicated to Gulf region shipping, repairs, and construction. Originally a repair yard for large ships, Alabama Dry Dock played an active role in both World Wars. The company built and assembled the Bankhead Tunnel after World War I.
ADDSCO Changes Gears During the War
At the start of World War II, the U.S. Maritime Commission named Alabama Dry Dock one of nine emergency shipyards to focus only on producing naval warships. Because the demand for warships was so high, ADDSCO became the single largest employer in Alabama, employing almost 30,000 workers.
Alabama Dry Dock’s Employment Diversity During World War II
Of these workers, over 2,500 of them were women. Female workers at Alabama Dry Dock were responsible for welding or quality control. Over 25 percent of all defense-related jobs in Mobile, Alabama were held by women.
Alabama Dry Dock was also one of the largest employers of African-Americans at the time, in lower-level jobs, such as acting as assistants to white welders. Despite initial efforts to run segregated facilities, some African-American workers were promoted to welders and became part of previously all-white crews. There was a race riot in May of 1943 that required the intervention of the National Guard; it was not safe for the African-American employees to go back to work for several days.
Ship Production at ADDSCO During World War II
Alabama Dry Dock and Shipping Company produced 20 Liberty destroyers between 1941 and 1942, some of which went to the British fleet as part of the lend-lease program. Demand shifted due to losses in the open seas, and ADDSCO produced 90 oil tankers between 1943 and 1945. Alabama Dry Dock also refitted 2,800 ships for combat by the time the war ended.
Changing Operations at Alabama Dry Dock After World War II
After World War II, ADDSCO had to lay off thousands of workers each month, reducing its workforce to about 2,000 employees by the 1960s. With demand for new shipbuilding down, the shipyard turned to work repairing ships until 1967, when it began building rescue ships for the U.S. Navy. Alabama Dry Dock continued to build rescue ships until the project ended in 1972.
Other projects also kept ADDSCO shipyard workers busy in the 1970s. ADDSCO workers assisted in constructing the George Wallace Tunnel on Interstate 10. Alabama Dry Dock was also one of three companies that helped form the world’s largest ice-breaking ship by converting the tanker Manhattan. The Manhattan sailed the Northwest Passage to clear a sea route to the oil fields of Alaska. Later in the decade, ADDSCO built four semi-submersible oil platforms to be used by the Coral Drilling Company in the Gulf of Mexico.
Alabama Dry Dock and Shipping Company continued to repair ships until a series of accidents damaged the facility in the 1980s. Atlantic Marine Holdings bought the facility in 1989 and split it into two companies, Atlantic Marine Mobile and Alabama Shipyard. The companies were both sold to JFL Partners, LLC in 2006 and have been combined again to become Atlantic Marine Alabama.
Asbestos and Alabama Dry Dock
Before the 1970s, asbestos in shipbuilding components was common because of the material’s fireproofing and insulating properties. Asbestos was used in boilers, incinerators, steam pipe insulation, and hot water pipes. While OSHA now regulates asbestos use in shipyards, Alabama Dry Dock employees who worked there prior to the 1970s were often exposed to asbestos without the aid of proper protective clothing or gear. This put them at risk for inhalation of asbestos fibers.
Symptoms of Mesothelioma From Alabama Dry Dock Asbestos Exposure
When asbestos fibers are inhaled, they can become lodged in the lungs. This can cause a number of serious illnesses, including lung cancer, mesothelioma, asbestosis, and other forms of cancer. Mesothelioma is a rare but serious form of cancer that is often misdiagnosed as pneumonia or lung cancer unless the doctor is aware of prior exposure to asbestos. While mesothelioma can take over 40 years before symptoms begin to manifest, many patients who are diagnosed with mesothelioma often learn that they have less than a year to live.
The history of asbestos at ADDSCO is not commonly discussed, but it’s a reality. Alabama Dry Dock workers should monitor their health carefully and consult a doctor if they experience any symptoms associated with mesothelioma. Anyone who has been diagnosed with mesothelioma from Alabama Dry Dock employment should also consider contacting a lawyer to discuss his or her legal rights.
What to do if you Have Mesothelioma From Alabama Dry Dock Employment
Have you or someone you know been diagnosed with mesothelioma from Alabama Dry Dock asbestos exposure? If so, you may be entitled to compensation. Consult an experienced mesothelioma attorney right away to find out more. The mesothelioma attorneys at Nemeroff Law Firm have years of experience getting settlements and verdicts for asbestos exposure victims just like you. To find out more, call us toll-free at 866-342-1929 or complete our online contact form for a free case evaluation. We’re here to fight for you.