The USS Sicily CVE was named after the island of Sicily, the location of a major U.S. invasion in World War II. As a Commencement Bay-class escort carrier, the Sicily had a crew of 1,170 enlisted men and officers, and she served in both the Atlantic and Pacific Fleets of the U.S. Navy.
Korean Service, Eventually Scrapped
The Sicily was built in the early 1940s by the Todd-Pacific Shipyards in Tacoma, Washington. Originally called the Sandy Bay, the ship was renamed the USS Sicily (CVE-118) in 1945. Her original homeport was Norfolk, Virginia; it later became San Diego.
The USS Sicily served in three deployments in the Korean War, and received five battle stars for her service there. In 1960, the Sicily was struck from the Navy List and sold to the Nicolai Joffe Corp. for scrap.
The USS Sicily and Asbestos Exposure
The personnel who served aboard the Sicily and those who helped build, repair, maintain and scrap the ship were all at risk of being exposed to a dangerously high level of asbestos, the mineral used extensively in Navy and commercial vessels until the 1970s.
In the earlier decades of the twentieth century, it was thought that the many useful qualities of asbestos made it appropriate for seagoing vessels, in part to prevent fires on board. Asbestos has excellent fire-resistant and friction-resistance properties, and it can be used in sheets, as a spray, as a coating, in flexible forms, and in thousands of other applications. Navy ships often had hundreds of asbestos-containing parts.
Navy Vets, Shipyard Workers
The owners and management of some shipbuilding companies and industries that used asbestos were aware that asbestos exposure can cause cancer and other serious diseases. The U.S. Navy‚Äôs uppermost echelon was also aware of the dangers of asbestos. The shipyard employees and Navy vets exposed to the asbestos are the ones who have paid the price.
If You Worked on the USS Sicily
If you worked on or aboard the USS Sicily, you should speak to a legal professional who understands the harmful effects of asbestos. Contact us today to determine your legal rights.