Todd Pacific Shipyard San Pedro
Todd Pacific Shipyard was a large shipbuilding and maintenance facility used by the U.S. Navy during and after WWII.
Originally built by the Los Angeles Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company as an emergency yard in 1917, the shipyard stayed open for business after WWI, mostly as a repair station for U.S. Navy and commercial vessels. It also built cargo ships for the U.S. Shipping Board to replace losses in the Great War.
World War II broke out in 1941, and the LA Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. was called on by the U.S. Navy to repair battle-damaged ships and replace those lost in combat. The company suffered numerous financial and leadership troubles, however, and the Navy intervened, first investing nine million dollars in the San Pedro site, then turning it over to the Todd Shipbuilding Co. in 1943.
As Todd Pacific Shipyard San Pedro, the site finally began to see some success. The yard built several smaller combat ships and auxiliaries during WWII and was a major repair and refit station. After the war, Todd Pacific bought the yard from the Navy and used it on civilian projects. These include most of the floating rides at the Disneyland theme park; the Mark Twain riverboat, the Columbia pirate vessel, and the original diesel-electric submarines used in its “Submarine Voyage” ride.
The shipyard returned to military work in 1963 with the laying-down of the guided missile cruisers England and Fox. Todd continued to build military ships there alongside civilian projects through the 1970s. During this time, seven Knox-class frigates were launched.
On February 28, 1980, the shipyard delivered Wadsworth, an Oliver Hazard Perry-class guided missile frigate. From then until its closure, the yard at San Pedro delivered seventeen more Perry-class FFGs to the navy, the largest single contract of its career.
In the 1980s, Todd fought for a contract to build the Navy's new Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers at San Pedro. It lost this contract, however, and after the delivery of Ingraham on August 5, 1989, Todd Pacific shut down the facility. The yard can be seen to this day with many acres of undeveloped land. Part of the facility is now owned by the Port of Los Angeles and used as container storage.
Risk of Asbestos Exposure
Todd Pacific San Pedro operated at a time when the use of asbestos in naval and commercial ship construction was common. The U.S. Navy and commercial shipping authorities in America, following the deadly and tragic fire aboard the ocean liner Morro Castle in 1934, mandated the use of asbestos to insulate the inner workings of steam engines. As a major repair yard and shipbuilder during this time, Todd Pacific San Pedro would have dealt with large amounts of asbestos on a daily basis, particularly during WWII, when battle-damaged ships needed repair.
Asbestos insulation can easily break down into tiny fibers if damaged or put under stress. These fibers are a proven cause of mesothelioma, a malignant cancer of the lungs. There is currently no cure for mesothelioma, but treatments such as chemotherapy can be employed to fight the disease. If you or someone you know worked at Todd Pacific San Pedro and has contracted mesothelioma, please fill out the form at the bottom of this page to receive free information regarding your rights to compensation.