An US Company Pays Compensation To The Family Of A Dead Turkish Admiral

This was an interesting news of an interesting development which could be turn into something big.

Family compensated after Turkish admiral dies of asbestos on US ship
A U.S. ship-building company has paid compensation to the family of a Turkish admiral who died of cancer after serving for years on a warship containing asbestos.

The Turkish admiral served on the warship Adatepe D 353, which was purchased from the United States in 1971, before he died of cancer, Güngör Karakuş of daily Habertürk reported today.

The admiral’s family, who asked to remain anonymous, sought legal compensation after they learned that the late officer contracted cancer due to the asbestos used in the U.S.-made ship. A court sentenced the company that built the ship to pay an undisclosed amount of money to the family to compensate for the admiral’s death.

The court’s ruling provided a precedent for the families of thousands of other Turkish sailors who have died of, or have suffered from, cancer to seek legal compensation from the company, lawyers Özge Haktan and Özlem Nur Öztürk said, as the Turkish Navy was known to possess a total of 25 warships built using asbestos that were all purchased from, or donated by, the U.S.

The first of the asbestos-laden warships were delivered to Turkey in 1949 as a donation from the U.S., the report said. Turkey continued to acquire ships that contained asbestos through donations and purchases in subsequent years.

Service members who worked on ships containing asbestos previously received compensation in the U.S., Italy and Greece, but the present case is the first time any Turk has received a payment.

As far as I know this is the first case of such compensation. In the Turkish version of this the sister lawyers stated that they were approached by their US colleagues during an international conference  about the possibility of collection compensations. I believe this could be a fallout of the class actions of US-based lawyers against asbestos and  the shipyards  that used this material.

I made a quick research about the destroyers transferred from US navy to Turkish Navy since the end of Second World War and about their constructors The two destroyers escorts TCG Berk and TCG Peyk were not transferred from US Navy. These ships were built in Turkey after the plans of US Navy Claude Jones class ships. It is highly possible that asbestos was used in their construction. This is why I have added them to the list.

All of the ships are long gone, a couple sunk as targets, a few turned into museums, rest scrapped. Of the 7 different shipyards that constructed the ships 4 are still in business.

Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co: 6 ships transferred from USN were built by this yard. The yard and the company does not exist any more.

Gulf Shipbuilding: 1 destroyer, transferred was build here. The company does not exist any more.

Bath Iron Works: This company is still in business. One of the few shipyards able to produce large warships for the US Navy. 3 ships from this yard was in commission in Turkish Navy.

Bethlehem Steel Corporation: This is the shipyard that produced the ex  USS Forrest Royal ex TCG Adatepe and 7 other destroyers used by Turkish Navy. Although the name of the company that paid the compensation was not disclosed in the article it is clear that it was the Bethlehem Steel Company or its current owner.

Consolidated Steel Co: This company is still in business. They have built 4 destroyers used by Turkish navy.

Todd Pacific: This company is still in business and was bought by another. One destroyer used bu Turkish Navy was built by this shipyard.

Gölcük Naval Shipyard: This is the main shipyard of Turkish Navy and is specialized in submarine and frigate production. 2 Berk class ships based on US Claud Jones destroyer escort design, were built here.

I wonder if asbestos was only used in destroyers in US Navy. Turkish Navy received a wast variety of ships, submarines, destroyers, frigates, mine hunters, patrol boats, depot ships just to name a few. Did these ships had also asbestos and if yes aren’t the sailors worked in these vessels eligible to the same compensation?

Time will tell us if this case is going to be the first one of a many similar cases or just one time hit.

Below is a list of the all destroyers Turkish Navy received from US Navy and their service time in Turkish Navy.

Pennant Name Class Builder Commissioning Decommissioning Service
D340 İstanbul Fletcher Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co 1967 1986 19
D341 İzmir Fletcher Gulf Shipbuilding 1967 1986 19
D342 İzmit Fletcher Bath Iron Works 1969 1980 11
D343 İskenderun Fletcher Bethlehem Steel Corporation 1969 1981 12
D344 İçel Fletcher Bethlehem Steel Corporation 1969 1981 12
D344 Gaziantep Gleaves Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co 1950 1973 23
D345 Yücetepe Gearing Consolidated Steel Co 1974 1998 24
D345 Giresun Gleaves Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co 1949 1973 24
D346 Alçıtepe Carpenter Bath Iron Works 1982 1997 15
D346 Gelibolu Gleaves Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co 1949 1976 27
D347 Anıttepe Carpenter Consolidated Steel Co 1981 1997 16
D347 Gemlik Gleaves Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co 1950 1974 24
D348 Savaştepe Gearing Consolidated Steel Co 1981 1994 13
D349 Kılıçalipaşa Gearing Consolidated Steel Co 1980 1998 18
D350 Piyalepaşa Gearing Bath Iron Works 1980 1999 19
D351 M Fevzi Çakmak Gearing Bethlehem Steel Corporation 1973 1994 21
D352 Gayret Gearing Todd Pacific 1973 1995 22
D353 Adatepe Gearing Bethlehem Steel Corporation 1971 1993 22
D354 Kocatepe Gearing Bethlehem Steel Corporation 1971 1974 3
D354 Kocatepe (II) Gearing Bethlehem Steel Corporation 1974 1993 19
D355 Tınaztepe Gearing Bethlehem Steel Corporation 1972 1984 12
D356 Zafer Allen M. Sumner Federal Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co 1972 1993 21
D358 Berk Berk Gölcük Naval Yard 1972 1999 27
D359 Peyk Berk Gölcük Naval Yard 1975 2001 26
DM357 Muavenet Robert H. Smith Bethlehem Steel Corporation 1971 1992 21

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