New York Shipbuilding, Camden, NY

History of New York Shipbuilding

New York Shipbuilding Corporation, also known as New York Ship, was founded in 1898 in Camden, just north of where the Walt Whitman Bridge’s east end sits today. Founder Henry Morse originally planned on building the site in Staten Island but decided on Camden due to several geographical and labor advantages.

New York was the largest private shipbuilding operation in the world during its peak, occupying more than two miles of the Delaware River’s shores. The company played a vital role in the United States’ World War II efforts, with the U.S. Navy investing $25 million toward its expansion in the late 1930s. New York Ship had more than 35,000 workers at one point, making it one of the largest employers in the area during that time.

The company’s influence on residents in the area was so vital that the Camden County Historical Society created an exhibit known as “In Harms Ways: New York Shipbuilding in WW II” that opened to the public in 2001. Part of the exhibit includes an oral history told by recorded interviews with former workers who are now mostly in their 80s and 90s. New York Ship ceased operations in 1967 and today is part of the Port of Camden.

New York Ship And Asbestos Exposure

Poor ventilation and a lack of respiratory protective gear at shipyards during the World War II era placed shipyard workers at a particularly high risk of being exposed to asbestos. New York Ship was no exception.

The presence of asbestos in ship equipment at New York Ship exposed many workers. It can take 15-60 years for mesothelioma or lung cancer from asbestos exposure to develop. Many former New York Ship workers have developed mesothelioma. Navy veterans stationed on ships and aircraft carriers constructed by New York Ship were also exposed to asbestos and have developed mesothelioma and lung cancer.

Former shipyard workers experiencing symptoms such as breathing problems, unusual weight loss, and/or coughing up blood should see a physician immediately. Treatment options diminish as the stages of mesothelioma advance, so a prompt diagnosis is ideal.

What You Can Do If Diagnosed With Mesothelioma

Belluck & Fox, LLP, has over two decades of experience litigating asbestos-related and mesothelioma claims for former shipyard workers. The firm is featured on U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Law Firm” list and has won more than a half-billion dollars in settlements and jury verdicts. Contact Belluck & Fox, LLP, if you or a family member has been diagnosed with mesothelioma.