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U.S. Navy Yard in New York

brooklyn naval shipyard

History of the Brooklyn Navy Yard

The U.S. Navy Yard in Brooklyn, New York was authorized by President John Adams in 1801 and was one of the first five Navy shipyards established in the U.S. It was built in Brooklyn, NY, just east of an area known as The Battery in lower Manhattan, where British troops guarded New York City during the American Revolution. It was commonly referred to as the the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

It wasn’t until 1820 that the Navy Yard’s first ship, the USS Ohio, was launched. It was one of a fleet built in Brooklyn to stop pirate ships from entering U.S. waters. In 1837, the Navy Yard completed the first U.S. steam-powered warship, Fulton II. It built ships used in the Spanish-American War and later, to boost President Theodore Roosevelt’s “Great White Fleet” that announced the U.S. as a world power.

During the 20th century, the Brooklyn Navy Yard built ships to support the Navy during two world wars, including the USS Arizona. The Arizona was destroyed on December 7, 1941, in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii during the surprise attack by Japan that pushed the US into World War II.

The Navy Yard doubled in size during the war and housed the world’s largest dry docks and crane. The war ended aboard another Brooklyn-built ship, the USS Missouri, where Japan signed an unconditional surrender on September 2, 1945.

The Brooklyn Navy Yard shut down in 1966 along with 90 other military bases. Later, it became an industrial park with a civilian shipbuilding company. Today, it houses 330 industrial concerns including the largest film studio complex outside Hollywood.

Brooklyn Navy Yard and Asbestos Exposure

asbestos navy shipsAsbestos was used throughout the shipsbuilt at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Asbestos is the only known cause for mesothelioma, a rare cancer that most often affects chest organs—particularly the lining of the lungs—and less often, the stomach. According to the American Cancer Society, the English government recognized a link between breathing in asbestos and lung scarring back in the 1920s.

The huge explosion of shipbuilding during World War II, however, exposed more workers than ever to asbestos. People who worked in shipbuilding are among the largest group diagnosed with mesothelioma and other asbestos-related disease, particularly in the lungs. There is no recognized safe level of asbestos exposure.

Airborne asbestos fibers used in shipyards can be inhaled and lodge in the lining of the lungs, causing scarring and cancer, including the incurable cancer mesothelioma. Mesothelioma symptoms can take decades to develop and the cancer is typically late stage when diagnosed, limiting treatment options.

What You Can Do If You Are Exposed To Asbestos

At virtually all shipyards in existence by the mid-20th century, ships built and replaced at the Brooklyn Navy Yard are known to have contained asbestos. Asbestos was used in equipment on the ships.

If you have been exposed to asbestos, understand that some of the symptoms may mimic minor colds or viruses. However, asbestos-related disease symptoms last longer. Contact your physician if you have these problems for more than a few days or a week:

  • Persistent coughing, particularly with blood
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Night sweats
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fever
  • Fatigue

Mention that you worked with or near asbestos.

In addition, family members of workers exposed to asbestos may also be at risk for asbestos-related diseases. According to the U.S. Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry, workers whose clothing became contaminated with asbestos dust or fibers carried them home, where others were exposed.

Belluck & Fox, LLP is a nationally-recognized asbestos and injury law firm with decades of experience working with asbestos victims. The firm has recovered hundreds of millions of dollars on behalf of those injured by asbestos.

If you were diagnosed with mesothelioma, Belluck & Fox, LLP responsible attorneys can help you and your family. Visit our Law Firm in New York City, Albany, Rochester and Woodstock. You can also Contact us for a free case review to learn more.

Ships Repaired at Brooklyn Naval Yard


  • USS Active YTM-112
  • USS Adirondack AGC-15
  • USS Ahrens DE-575
  • USS Albany
  • USS Alexander Hamilton WPG-34
  • USS Antietam CV-36
  • USS Austin LPD-4


  • USS Bache DD-470
  • USS Benson DD-421
  • USS J.A. Bole DD-755
  • USS Bonne Homme Richard CV-31
  • USS Borum DE-790
  • USS Brooklyn CL-40


  • USS Calcaterra DE-390
  • USS Chambers DE-391
  • USS Champlin DD-601
  • USS Chara AKA-58
  • USS Cincinnati CL-6
  • USS Clark DD-361
  • USS Comanche CG
  • USS J.E. Connolly DE-450
  • USS Constellation CV-64
  • USS Cooper DD-695
  • USS Cowie DD-632
  • USS Cushing DD-797


  • USS Dahlgren DD-187
  • USS Dale DD-353
  • USS Davis DD-395
  • USS Davison DD-618
  • USS Dolphin SS-169
  • USS Duluth LPD-6
  • USS Durant DE-389


  • USS Edsall DE-129
  • USS H.J. Ellison DD-864 (Bayonne Annex)
  • USS Elmore DE-686
  • USS Enterprise CVN-65
  • USS Erie PG-50
  • USS Europa AP-177 (Bayonne Annex)
  • USS C.L. Evans DE-113
  • USS Evarts DE-5


  • USS Finnegan DE-307
  • USS Foss DE-59
  • USS Franklin CV-13
  • USS Franklin D. Roosevelt CV-42


  • USS Gantner DE-60
  • USS Gyatt DD-712 (Bayonne Annex)


  • USS Hamilton WPG-34
  • USS Helena CL-50
  • USS Hobby DD-610
  • USS Holder DE-401
  • USS Holder DE-401 (Bayonne Annex)
  • USS Honolulu CL-48
  • USS Hornet
  • USS Houston CL-81
  • USS Hull DD-350
  • USS Hurst DE-250


  • USS Independence CV-62
  • USS Indiana BB-58
  • USS Ingram DE-62
  • USS Iowa BB-61


  • USS Jamestown PG-55
  • USS John C. Spencer (USCG)
  • USS Juneau CL-52


  • USS Kearsarge CV-33
  • USS Kenosha
  • USS Kretchmer DE-329


  • USS Lansing DE-388
  • USS LaSalle LPD-3
  • USS Levant
  • LST 311-318
  • USS Lexington CV-16
  • USS Loy DE-160


  • USS Marblehead CL-12
  • USS Marchand DE-249
  • USS Matagorda AG-122
  • USS Mayrant DD-402
  • USS McGowan DD-678
  • USS Mellville AD-2
  • USS Menges DE-320
  • USS Merak AF-21 (Bayonne Annex)
  • USS Merrill DE-392
  • USS Mervine DD-489
  • USS Monitor LSV-5
  • USS Monroe DD-489
  • USS Morris


  • USS New Orleans CA-32
  • USS Niagara PG-52
  • USS North Carolina BB-55


  • USS Ogden LPD-5
  • USS O’Neil DE-188
  • USS Ordronoux DD-617
  • USS Oriskany CV-34


  • USS Parker DD-604
  • USS R.I. Payne DE-578
  • PCS-1390
  • PCS-1405
  • PCS-1425
  • USS Pensacola CA-24
  • USS Pettit DE-255
  • USS Phelps DE-360
  • USS Phoebe MSC-199
  • PT’s 589-593 (Squadron 40)
  • PT-594
  • PT-619


  • USS Quick DD-490


  • USS Raleigh LPD-1
  • USS Renshaw DD-499
  • USS Richardson AP-118
  • USS Rolette AKA-99
  • USS William D. Rush DD-714


  • USS Sabine AO-25
  • USS Saratoga CV-60
  • SC 5-64 (Subchasers)
  • USS South Dakota
  • USS Spencer WPG-36
  • USS Seminole ATF-65
  • USS Shea DD-750 (DM-30, MMD-30)
  • USS Steinaker DD-863
  • USS Stern DE-187
  • USS Stribling DD-867
  • USS Sturtevant DD-240


  • USS Tarazed AF-13 (Bayonne Annex)
  • USS Taussig DD-746
  • USS Thornhill DE-195
  • USS Ticonderoga CV-14
  • USS Tillman DD-641
  • USS Tullahoma


  • USS Uhlman DD-687


  • USS Vance DE-387
  • USS Vancouver LPD-2
  • USS Vogelgesang DD-862


  • USS C.R. Ware DD-865
  • USS Wasp CV-18
  • USS Welles DE-628
  • USS Wilhoite DE-397
  • USS J.W. Wilke DD-800


  • YC-1149
  • YF-293 (Bayonne Annex)
  • YG-33
  • YO-5
  • YOL-26
  • YP-590

Civilian Ships:

  • TT Brooklyn

Other asbestos exposure case in navy shipyards: Bethlehem Steel Shipyard, Coastal Dry Dock,  Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Annex at Port Newark and Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company.