Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, also known as the Coast Guard Yard, is located on Curtis Bay in Anne Arundel County, MD. While it is thought to be a high-quality repair and construction business for the Coast Guard, it has a past that is marred by high amounts of asbestos use that left many former shipyard workers with mesothelioma and other serious diseases.
Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard History
The yard was opened in 1899. During its first decade, it focused on fixing small boats and building lifeboats. Over the next four decades, the shipyard grew and its workload greatly increased. More shipyard workers were brought in to build military vessels. Hundreds of shipyard workers were both civilians and the military.
When WWII started, The Coast Guard Yard had many overhauls to perform, ship repairs, and many manufacturing projects for the Coast Guard and US Navy. A new, 3000-ton dry dock was built in the 1940s, as well as new ship channels and a new pier to handle all of the military-related work it had.
The shipyard continued to operate and expand during the Vietnam War until it slowed down after that war and the shipyard closed. Unfortunately, thousands of former shipyard workers were exposed to asbestos over the decades and were left with serious health problems.
Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard and Asbestos Use
There was heavy asbestos use in this yard for decades. According to government officials, hundreds of products containing asbestos were used by the US military here before the EPA stepped in and put tight regulations on asbestos use. Many of these products were shipped to the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard from the 1930s through the 1970s.
It was found that asbestos was all over the shipyard. It was in electrical wiring, insulation, deck coatings, pipes, boiler rooms, flooring, engine rooms, construction materials and more.
The shipyard was so contaminated with asbestos that the EPA called it a Superfund site in 2002. Several years after that, the yard agreed with the EPA to perform a major cleanup operation.
According to the EPA, the shipyard’s long-term solutions included excavation and removal of asbestos-contaminated soil and the treatment of contaminated groundwater. Construction of these remedies occurred from 2009 until 2013. Treatment of groundwater and EPA monitoring are ongoing. The site was to be reviewed again by EPA in June 2019.
Asbestos exposure at Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard affected military members and civilians. According to an Occupational & Environmental Medicine Study doing in 2007, more than 4,000 workers who were employed at the shipyard from 1950 until 1964 had a much higher than average mesothelioma mortality rate. (NIH.gov)
One worker named Harry Hunter filed an asbestos lawsuit against Owens-Illinois Glass after he was diagnosed with mesothelioma. Court documents stated that the company sent Kaylo insulation to Curtis Bay. That insulation was one of many products containing asbestos that was used for years there.
Eventually, a jury in Maryland decided in favor of his estate and awarded $4.2 million in a wrongful death judgment. But because there is a liability limit of $600,000 under state law, the compensation amount was capped. The man worked as an electrician at the shipyard in 1956 and was never told about the dangers of working around asbestos.
If you or a loved one worked at the Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, you or they could have been exposed to high levels of asbestos. In some cases, such exposure can cause fatal health problems including mesothelioma, asbestosis, or another asbestos-related health problem. If you have been diagnosed with mesothelioma and were employed at Curtis Bay Coast Guard Yard, please consult with a licensed mesothelioma attorney today.
Your attorney can go over your history of employment and determine if your mesothelioma may be related to asbestos exposure at the shipyard. Mesothelioma attorneys have access to databases of companies that provided asbestos-containing materials to shipyards all over the US for many years. In many cases, it is possible to track down the companies that exposed you to asbestos. If so, you may be able to obtain compensation for your lost earnings, medical bills, and pain and suffering.