Asbestos Exposure: Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock - Kearny, N.J.

History of Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock – Kearny

Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Company, also known as “Federal,” was established in 1917 on 160 acres on the Hackensack River’s west bank along the Lincoln Highway. It was one of several locations commissioned by the U.S. government for its Emergency Shipbuilding Program, The company received $10 million in aid from the U.S. Navy to ensure it could keep up with demand during World War II. Federal was a subsidiary of U.S. Steel Corporation, which was founded by JP Morgan when he purchased and combined 10 other steel companies.

Federal was the country’s second-leading producer of Navy destroyers through World War II, with only Bath Ironworks producing more ships through that time. The company had over 50,000 employees and was known for building and repairing ships from start to finish faster than any shipyard in America. The USS Melvin, for instance, was built and launched in a little more than three months.

Six more Gearing-class warships were laid down and completed after the war, but the company ceased all shipbuilding operations in 1949. Today, the site is occupied by the River Terminal Development Complex.

Federal And Asbestos Exposure

Every ship commissioned by the Navy after World War I through the 1980s contained, among other things, asbestos-containing equipment. That means every boiler worker, mechanic, electrician, steamfitter, and piper coverer were potentially exposed to asbestos.

Former Federal workers are especially at-risk of developing mesothelioma and lung cancer. Symptoms of mesothelioma and lung cancer can take 15-60 years to develop. Former Federal workers should immediately see a doctor if they experience unexplained weight loss, coughing up blood. or difficulty breathing.

United States Navy Ships Repaired at Federal Shipbuilding in Kearny New York


  • USS Aaron Ward DD-483
  • USS Achernar AKA-53
  • USS Allen M. Sumner DD-692
  • USS Alshain AKA-55
  • USS Anderson DD-411
  • USS Andromeda AK-64, AKA-15
  • USS Anne Arundel AP-76 (SS Mormacyork C3-43)
  • USS Appalachian AGC-1
  • USS Aquarius AK-66, AKA-16
  • USS Atlanta CL-51
  • USS Ault DD-698


  • USS Benham DD-397
  • USS Black DD-666
  • USS Blue Ridge AGC-2
  • USS Borie DD-704
  • USS Breckinridge AP-176
  • USS Bristol DD-453
  • USS Buchanan DD-484
  • USS Bullard DD-660


  • USS Castor AKS-1 (SS Challenge C2-14)
  • USS Centaurus AKA-17
  • USS Cepheus AK-67, AKA-18
  • USS Chara AKA-58, AE-31
  • USS Charles S. Sperry DD-697
  • USS Chauncey DD-667
  • USS Clarence K. Bronson DD-668
  • USS Compton DD-705
  • USS Cooper DD-695
  • USS Cotten DD-669


  • USS Davidson DD-618, DMS-37
  • USS Dashiell DD-659
  • USS Diphda AKA-59
  • USS Dortch DD-670
  • USS Duncan DD-485


  • USS Edison DD-439
  • USS Edwards DD-619
  • USS Ellet DD-398
  • USS Ellyson DD-454, DMS-19
  • USS English DD-696
  • USS Ericsson DD-440
  • USS Euryale AS-22 (SS Hawaiian Merchant)


  • USS Fletcher DD-445, DDE-445
  • USS Flusser DD-368
  • USS Fresno CL-121


  • USS Gainard DD-706
  • USS Gatling DD-671
  • USS General A.E. Anderson AP-111
  • USS General C.H. Barth AP-119
  • USS General G.M. Randall AP-115
  • USS General H.W. Butner AP-113
  • USS General John Pope AP-110
  • USS General M.C. Meigs AP-116
  • USS General W.A. Mann AP-112
  • USS General W.H. Gordon AP-117
  • USS General W. Mitchell AP-114
  • USS General W.P. Richardson AP-118
  • USS Glennon DD-620
  • USS Guardoqui IX-218 (SS E.T. Bedford)


  • USS Hambleton DD-455, DMS-20
  • USS Hammann DD-412
  • USS Hamul AK-30, AD-20 (SS Flying Cloud C2-17)
  • USS Hank DD-702
  • USS Harlan R. Dickson DD-708
  • USS Haynsworth DD-700
  • USS Healy DD-672
  • USS Hickox DD-673
  • USS Hugh Purvis DD-709
  • USS Hunt DD-674


  • USS Ingraham DD-694


  • USS Jeffers DD-621
  • USS Jenkins DD-447, DDE-447
  • USS John Hannay AK-32 (SS Waukegan)
  • USS John W. Weeks DD-701
  • USS Juneau CL-52
  • USS Juneau CL-119
  • USS Jupiter AK-43 (SS Flying Cloud C2-17)


  • USS Kearny DD-432


  • USS Lang DD-399
  • USS Lansdowne DD-486
  • USS Lardner DD-487
  • USS La Vallette DD-448, DDE-448
  • USS Leedstown AP-73 (SS Santa Lucia)
  • USS Lewis Hancock DD-675
  • USS Leo AKA-60
  • USS Liberty AK-35 (SS Wichita)
  • USS Libra AK-53, AKA-12 (SS Jean Lykes C2-F-130)


  • USS Maddox DD-622
  • USS Marquette AKA-95
  • USS Marshall DD-676
  • USS Matthews AKA-96
  • USS McCalla DD-488
  • USS McDermut DD-677
  • USS McGowan DD-678
  • USS McNair DD-679
  • USS Melvin DD-680
  • USS Mercury AK-42, AKS-20 (SS Lightning C2-16)
  • USS Merrick AKA-97
  • USS Mervine DD-489
  • USS Moale DD-693
  • USS Montague AKA-98
  • USS Muliphen AKA-61


  • USS Nelson DD-623
  • USS Neosho AO-23 (SS Neosho T3-S2-A1)


  • USS Oberon AK-56, AKA-14 (SS Delalba C2-F-133)
  • USS Oglethorpe AKA-100
  • USS Otus AS-20 (SS Fred Morris C1-B-70)


  • USS Philip DD-498
  • USS Plunket DD-431
  • USS Pollux AKS-2
  • USS Pollux AKS-4 (SS Nancy Lykes C2-F-131)


  • USS Quick DD-490


  • USS Radford DD-446, DDE-446
  • USS Reid DD-369
  • USS Renshaw DD-499
  • USS Ringold DD-500
  • USS Rocky Mount AGC-3 (SS Rocky Mount C2-S-B1-202)
  • USS Rodman DD-456, DMS-21
  • USS Rolette AKA-99


  • USS Sangamon AO-28, CVE-26 (SS Esso Trenton T3-S2-A1)
  • USS Saufley DD-465, DDE-465
  • USS Schroeder DD-501
  • USS Shekiak AKA-62
  • USS Sigsbee DD-502
  • USS Soley DD-707
  • USS Somers DD-381
  • USS Spokane CL-120
  • USS Stevenson DD-645
  • USS Stockton DD-646
  • USS Suwanee AO-33, AVG-27, CVE-27 (SS Markay T3-S2-A1)


  • USS Theenim AKA-63
  • USS Thorn DD-647
  • USS Thuban AK-68, AKA-19 (SS Thuban C2-S-B1-203)
  • USS Thurston AP-77 (SS Delsantos C2-F134)
  • USS Titania AK-55, AKA-13 (SS Harry Culbreath C2-F-132)
  • USS Turner DD-648


  • USS Vandalia IX-191 (SS Walter Jennings)
  • USS Virgo AK-69, AKA-20, AE-30 (SS Virgo C2-S-B1-204)


  • USS Waldron DD-699
  • USS Wallace L. Lind DD-703
  • USS Waller DD-466, DDE-466
  • USS Warrington DD-383
  • USS Winston AKA-94

Civilian Ships:


  • SS African Crescent C3-S-BH2
  • SS African Dawn C2-S-B1-193
  • SS African Lightning C3-S-BH2
  • SS African Moon C3-S-BH2
  • SS African Planet C3-S-BH2
  • SS African Rainbow C3-S-BH2
  • SS African Star C2-S-B1-192
  • SS African Star C3-S-BH2
  • SS African Sun C2-S-B1-194
  • SS Albert E. Watts
  • SS Allegheny
  • SS Almeria Lykes C3-41
  • SS Ambridge
  • SS Anaconda


  • SS Bellbuckle
  • SS Bellepline
  • SS Bellerose
  • SS Bellemina
  • SS Bellflower
  • SS Bellhaven
  • SS Berkshire
  • SS Braddock


  • SS Clairton


  • SS Delaire C2-F-135
  • SS Dixie
  • SS Doctor Lykes C3-S-BH1
  • SS Donora
  • SS Duquesne


  • SS El Oceano