Based in Seattle since 1916, the Todd Pacific Shipyards Company has built a large number of shipyards and repair docks on the United State’s west coast. The company is still in business today, albeit in a decreased capacity since its peak in the mid-1900s.
In 1949, a location previously owned by United Shipbuilding was obtained by Todd Shipyards. The location was in the San Francisco Bay, connected to the Oakland Inner Harbor. The harbor in Oakland was primarily used as a repair facility, focusing on maintaining many different kinds of privately owned ships ranging from simple fishing boats to freighters. Over the next ten years, Todd Shipyards expanded its operation and was selected for an extensive repair contract for the Atlantic Queen, a Swedish tanker, as well as other similar projects.
The shipyard also assisted in converting freight ships to be capable of transporting cargo vehicles. During the 1960s, the Todd Pacific Shipyards Company found itself the recipient of a number of conversion jobs, often to increase the size of a given vessel. The company gained significant notice after they managed to build what was at that point the biggest oil drilling vessel ever.
Todd Shipyards hasn’t shut down since its opening. However, over time it started to receive fewer contracts for shipbuilding and maintenance. At this time, the vast majority of the shipyard is rented to private companies, mostly for the purpose of industrial warehousing. The shipyard has a multitude of buildings and other structures that have been constructed over the course of half a century. It is in the process of being examined as a possible addition to the National Register of Historic Places in the United States.
As is commonplace in the history of many long standing shipbuilding yards, employees of the Todd Pacific Shipyards Company working at the San Francisco shipyard were regularly in the presence of asbestos, a product now recognized to be hazardous that was often used as insulation material in boiler rooms and steam pipes on sea vessels. Furthermore, the extensive repairs and conversions this shipyard undertook put workers at an even higher risk, as these jobs typically involved exposing asbestos materials that might have been damaged. When broken, asbestos particles can fragment into small particles that can be ingested and lead to a devastating cancer known as mesothelioma. Unfortunately with a lack of contemporary safety standards, employees were almost never provided with the protective equipment necessary to handle such materials.