Colonna’s Shipyard In 1875, Colonna's Shipyard was established by Charles J. Colonna in Norfolk, Virginia. It was built on the east side of the Elizabeth River and is a repair and maintenance facility for medium sized boats, barges, freighters, and cruise ships. This shipyard has 100,000 square feet of storage and can hold ships that are as long as 900 feet. In addition, Colonna's Shipyard also has a yacht service shop across the river. This shipyard has been in operation for more than a hundred years, but unfortunately has used asbestos products that increased the risk of mesothelioma for workers who conducted repairs on ships. Many of these workers were exposed to asbestos during maintenance of ceilings, walls, insulation, and floors. Other unfortunate victims of exposure to asbestos are the families of these workers who may have developed mesothelioma as well. Secondary exposure is just as deadly as working in a shipyard. It is very easy for asbestos fibers to attach themselves to clothing, skin, or hair. Workers who go home take these fibers and introduce them to family members who have never stepped a foot in a shipyard. Studies have shown that there is a connection between asbestos-containing products and diseases like mesothelioma. Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that causes damage to the sac that holds vital organs such as the lungs, heart, and abdomen. It is caused by inhaling particles of asbestos, which settle in the lungs. The body finds it nearly impossible to remove them and this leads to irritation. After being irritated for so long, cancerous cells began to develop the disease known as mesothelioma. The latency period for mesothelioma is approximately 20 to 50 years after exposure before symptoms began to show. Symptoms that are often noticed with mesothelioma are coughing, wheezing, fever, and chest pains. In addition, you may feel abdominal pains, pain in the neck, difficulty swallowing, and difficulty breathing. Mesothelioma is harder to treat in its later stages, so early detection is vital.