The Long Beach Naval Shipyard was a 214-acre shipbuilding facility operated by the United States Navy. Though it was forced to close in 1997, in its time, this shipyard was considered the most cost-effective and efficient of any shipyard that has ever been operated by the Navy.
This special shipyard was established officially in the year 1943 and known by the name of the US Naval Dry Docks at Roosevelt Base in California. Two years later, the place was renamed Terminal Island Naval Facility. Another three years passed and in 1948 the facility got designated with its final name of the Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
This naval shipyard made itself very important to the United States by repairing and even building many of the nation’s great naval vessels. This facility had an abundance of technology and space that made it possible for the Navy to repair and build non-nuclear ships. This included rigging, insulating, electrical work, sandblasting, lagging, woodworking, welding, pipe fitting, and many other things. During the time when this shipyard was at its busiest in August of 1945, it employed over 16,000 proud workers who at 17 workstations or zones outfitted with a variety of equipment.
Shipbuilding experienced a boom when the United States decided to enter the Second World War. The need for quick manufacturing of these articles became so extreme that asbestos started to become popular as a material to use in producing and repairing ships that were built at this shipyard and similar facilities. At the time, asbestos seemed highly attractive due to the fact that it was easy to acquire, fireproof, and cheap. It was used throughout the ships, particularly in and around the boilers.
It was not widely known until the 1970s that asbestos is actually a carcinogen that can cause people to develop mesothelioma and lung and other cancers from merely being exposed to the airborne fibers. It has been estimated that over 100,000 workers from U.S. shipyards have died due to their exposure to the asbestos that was used in ropes, gloves, welding machines, insulation, caulking and other products. People who have worked at the Long Beach Naval Shipyard may have been exposed to asbestos and are at higher risk of developing mesothelioma or some other harmful disease.