Yesterday (1 December 2022) Novum Law specialist asbestos solicitors Rebecca Ryan and Alison Sayers attended the 2022 Mesothelioma Essential Update. This was the first such event, held jointly by the...Read more
Specialist asbestos disease solicitor Alison Sayers from Novum Law’s Southampton team has secured compensation for a former cruise ship worker and Merchant Navy seaman who was diagnosed with pleural thickening.
‘Mr B’ was employed by P&O as a steward onboard the MV Sea Princess. He sailed on the cruise ship frequently during the early to mid-1980s, starting out as a wine steward and then working as a bedroom steward.
In his role as a bedroom steward, Mr B had a pantry stationed opposite the 10 cabins he looked after and he remembered there being blue asbestos lagging on the pipes above his station. Often, the ship’s vibration would cause the lagging to be disturbed and dust and debris would frequently fall into his pantry. He even recalled finding a piece of the lagging in one of his teacups.
Mr B also recalled asbestos being stripped from the cabins opposite his station while they were at sea and the items were thrown over the side of the ship. Although plastic sheeting was put up to cover the walkways, he had to continue to use the area to carry out his duties. He was never told not to work in the area and at no point was he advised to wear any protective equipment such as a respirator mask.
Asbestos exposure on cruise ships
Asbestos is a naturally-occurring mineral that was frequently used in industry and construction throughout the 20th century before it was banned because of the danger to health it poses when its fibres are breathed in.
Unfortunately, asbestos was once a commonly used material on ships, due to its heat resistant and water-resistant properties. Ships that have been in service for many years may, therefore, contain asbestos, and exposure to loose asbestos fibres and dust may pose a serious health threat to cruise ship workers, dock workers, ship staff and even passengers.
Pleural thickening diagnosis
Many years after working as a cruise ship employee, Mr B developed significant breathing difficulties and underwent investigations at hospital, where he was diagnosed with asbestos-related pleural thickening. This is where the lining of the lung thickens, restricting the ability of the lung to expand and making breathing difficult.
He had such extensive pleural thickening that he needed surgery to remove the lining of his left lung in the hope that it would improve his breathing. Although it initially worked, Mr B’s condition later deteriorated, and he was left with chest pain as a result of the surgery.
Making a cruise ship asbestos compensation claim
Mr B got in touch with Novum Law’s specialist asbestos solicitors after his shock pleural thickening diagnosis. Novum Law immediately got to work, investigating how Mr B was exposed to deadly asbestos fibres on ships.
He put solicitor Alison Sayers in contact with a former colleague so that he could provide a witness statement in support of the claim. Before working as a steward on a cruise ship, Mr B had been a Merchant Navy seaman and helpfully, he had also kept hold of his Merchant Navy Discharge Book which confirmed the dates of his voyages and his role on each vessel. This played a crucial role in his claim.
Novum Law was able to recover compensation from P&O for his asbestos-related pleural thickening and the pain that he has suffered. Alison also secured additional compensation to help Mr B to pay for a cleaner to help him around the home, for any equipment that may help him such as a mobility scooter, and future care that he may need.
If you or a loved one has been affected by exposure to asbestos, it’s important you speak to a specialist asbestos disease solicitor as soon as possible. Novum Law’s expert team will advise you on the best way to proceed with your claim and will work tirelessly to ensure that you receive maximum asbestos disease compensation on a ‘No Win No Fee‘ basis.