Swan Island Shipyard is located in Portland, Oregon and is run and owned by Cascade General Incorporated. Cascade owns several shipyards, but Swan is one of the biggest it operates on the west coast of the United States. It’s also one of only a few shipyards big enough and designed specifically for the production of T-2 tankers.
Swan Island Shipyard also serves as one of the major ship repair emergency yards along the Oregon border. It’s promoted as a high-quality repair and dry dock service provider for commercial merchant ships. Its eight waterways allow normal permanent ship repairs, upfitting and dry dock facilities and a voyage repair station.
However asbestos use is still acknowledged in certain industries where fire hazards are especially great. Shipyards, along with power plants, paper and steel mills, and other industrial complexes will often contain asbestos, despite modern regulation banning its use. Swan Island Shipyards contains asbestos in several places within its facility, making the removal of it difficult. Asbestos’ value as a fire retardant means it was often used in insulation, fireproofing and roofing materials.
This means employees of the shipyards are in continuous danger. An employee breathing the air in the confined boiler room at Swan Island Shipyard is most assuredly breathing in much greater amounts of the dangerous substance with every breath. There have even been cases where family members of workers exposed to asbestos have been stricken with the disease. Mesothelioma is a treatment-resistant form of cancer that attacks the tissue lining, or mesothelium, surrounding the lungs, heart and other important abdominal organs. It’s a rare cancer, but an aggressive one and it has been traced to asbestos exposure which could have taken place as many as five decades earlier.