This Forrest Sherman-class Destroyer was built by the Bath Iron Works of Bath, ME in the mid-1950s. It measured 418 feet in overall length, and carried a complement of 233 officers and men. Commissioned by the U.S. Navy in November 1957, the ship was active in conflicts such as the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Vietnam War. Additionally, it acted as a recovery ship for NASA, collecting the returned vessels from both the Mercury and Gemini III projects. The ship was decommissioned in November of 1982.
Navy veterans who were assigned to the USS Bigelow were likely exposed to asbestos over the course of regular duty. Between the 1930’s and mid-1970’s, asbestos was commonly used on Navy ships, and could be found in equipment including pumps, valves, turbines, boilers, and electrical components. Materials such as gaskets and packing were also often made from asbestos. The boiler and engine spaces on these ships were especially dangerous, as they held a high concentration of asbestos products in a confined and poorly ventilated area. Although the companies who made these asbestos products were often aware of their dangers, they did nothing to warn those who served on the USS Bigelow or its fellow ships.
Asbestos victims who have developed mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases have a right to seek compensation. Settlements can offset or cover the costs of medical care, and may provide additional sums for pain and suffering. The law limits the amount of time to file a lawsuit however, so it is important to contact legal counsel soon after receiving a mesothelioma diagnosis.