New York Shipbuilding was founded in 1899, and opened the following year in Camden, New Jersey. It was previously one of the largest shipbuilding companies in the United States. The New York Shipbuilding Corporation (NYS) worked with private sector, as well as the Coast Guard, the Merchant Marine and the U.S. Navy.
A number of people have ties to New York Shipbuilding. Its arrival came at the time during or right before wars when ships were needed in mass amounts. Manufacturing requirements were so extensive, almost entire towns stepped up as workers to operate and maintain the sprawling facility. The shipyard’s ability to produce ships and jobs during World War II helped turn the war and stimulate the local economy.
When the demand for shipbuilding increased rapidly during World War I and II, New York Shipbuilding became one of the largest producers in the world. They employed close to 35,000 people. It became one the primary facilities for the construction of watercraft like aircraft carriers and patrol boats.
The workers of NYS worked tirelessly to develop a multitude of ships for the wars. Often times safety hazards were violated, due to the hectic work needed to meet demands for the amount of ships needed. At the time, shipbuilding utilized a number of materials and chemicals not known to be hazardous to human health, such as asbestos.
NYS went out of business in 1967, leaving behind a great amount of accomplishment in building ships. However, employers and contractors were left with a host of long-term health-related issues with which to contend.
Asbestos was commonly used in shipbuilding throughout the 1900’s. During the process of building and using asbestos, workers and contractors were often exposed to the material. Thousands of these workers developed lung related ailments such as mesothelioma, a form of cancer caused by short and long-term inhalation of the asbestos fibers.