The oldest commercial dry dock on the West Coast, Hunters Point Naval Shipyard was established in San Francisco in 1867. The yard would stay busy with shipbuilding and maintenance work for over a century.
Among the shipyard´s many exploits, it repaired the Great White Fleet, which would go on to cruise around the globe in the first decade of the XXth century. In 1939, the yard was sold to the government and later given to the Bethlehem Steel Company on lease. In ´41, the Navy tool hold of the shipyard, naming it San Francisco Naval Shipyard Dedicated to building ships, as well as to the maintenance, repair and modification of both ships and submarines, the facility also served as a naval training ground and provided base accommodation.
When World War II came, the shipyard played an important role in it, repairing six hundred vessels and doing maintenance work on the Liberty Ship. Near the end of the ´40s, the Navy set up a radiological laboratory there, to work on decontaminating the vessels which had been used for testing atomic weapons.
Hunters Point was also busy during the war against Korea. Later on, it combined with the Mare Island shipyard to form the San Francisco Bay Naval Shipyard. The aim of the merger was cutting down on expenses, but it failed, and the two yards separated again. That is when the shipyard came to be known as Hunters Point.
In 1974, the Defense Department ordered the place to be shutdown. After that, some if its buildings came to be leased to small companies. Reports about waste mishandling abound about this period, during which the facility was known as Triple A.
Final and complete shutdown came only 20 years later. The site has since been a constant concern for local residents, due to its run-down state, as well as serious pollution issues. The place is today one of the most dangerously polluted areas in San Francisco. The contamination present in the area stems from asbestos, lead, pesticides, PCBs. and solvents, among other pollutants.
While all of the mentioned pollutants are dangerous, asbestos is the one with the most dramatic effect on human health. A common occurrence at American shipyards during the XXth century, asbestos causes potentially fatal conditions, such as asbestosis, lung cancer, and mesothelioma, also known as asbestos cancer.
If you were ever employed at Hunters Point, you should seek immediate medical and legal counsel, as you may have been affected. Asbestos-related conditions take decades to develop, but they are very aggressive. If you have been affected, you may be entitled to substantial legal compensation. Feel free to contact the experienced Weitz & Luxenberg Asbestos Lawyers for a complimentary case evaluation.