Asbestos Exposure on the USS Independence (CVL-22)
Hull Number: CVL-22
Type: Light Aircraft Carrier
Built: Camden, NJ
The USS Independence was light Aircraft Carrier commissioned by the U.S. Navy in January 1943, and the lead ship in her class. Originally set to be constructed as a light Cruiser, the New York Shipbuilding Company of Camden, NJ finished the ship as a new class of carriers converted from Cruiser hulls.
The ship operated mainly in the Pacific Theater of World War II, and received eight battle stars for operations on that front. After the war, the Independence assisted in Operation Magic Carpet, ferrying U.S. soldiers back to their home soil, and was later assigned as a target in the Bikini Atoll atomic bomb tests. The ship survived the blast, as well as a subsequent nuclear test, and was decommissioned in 1946.
Asbestos was a common material on ships built between the 1930’s and 1970’s, making it likely that those who served aboard the USS Independence were exposed in the line of duty. Equipment such as electrical components, boilers, turbines, pumps, and valves used asbestos in their construction, as did materials such as packing and gaskets.
The boiler and engine spaces on Navy ships held a high concentration of these asbestos materials, leaving Boiler Tenders, Firemen, Machinist’s Mates, and others who worked in the area at an elevated risk.
The businesses who sold these asbestos products to the Navy often knew of the dangers, but did nothing to warn the veterans who were at risk. This negligent attitude led many veterans to develop mesothelioma and other asbestos-caused illnesses later in life.
Victims of asbestos who served aboard the USS Independence and other ships from this era have a right to seek compensation. Settlements can help offset the often overwhelming costs of battling mesothelioma, lung cancer, and other asbestos related illnesses, and can provide additional sums for the suffering caused by these diseases.
The law limits the time during which a lawsuit can be filed however, so it is important that victims contact a lawyer soon after receiving a diagnosis.