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Avondale Shipyards still slated for 2013 closure, CEO says

April 20th, 2012

The Avondale shipyard—which was at one time the largest employer in the state of Louisiana—is still scheduled to be closed in 2013, the CEO of its parent company has stated. Opened in 1938, the shipyard once employed more than 26,000 workers and was the site for the construction of more than 2,500 ships.

The shipyard still employs more than 3,300 workers, and the state of Louisiana has offered incentives to its owner, Huntington Ingalls, to keep the site open. However, CEO Mike Petters said that his company would need to find a joint venture partner if the shipyard was to remain open past the planned closure date.

Workers at Avondale shipyard may have been at an increased risk of asbestos exposure due to products supplied by numerous asbestos wholesalers and contracting companies. Asbestos was a common material used in shipbuilding, especially from the 1940s through the 1970s. Exposure to the carcinogenic material has been directly linked to severe diseases such as asbestosis and mesothelioma—a deadly form of cancer that can take decades to develop.

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