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We were instructed by Mr Ramsey* in February 2016. Mr Ramsey sadly passed away on 19 September 2016 from mesothelioma caused by exposure to asbestos.

Exposure to asbestos at work

Mr Ramsey had had an interesting and varied working life. In around 1990, Mr Ramsey went to work at George Prior Engineering (Yorkshire) Limited and was based at the premises ABC Wharf, Southgate Road, Great Yarmouth. His work was to deal with ship refitting. Ships were re-fitted, repair or broken down for salvage. He worked on a large number of vessels including a Dutch Naval hospital ship which was being converted to a standby vessel for oil rigs and ex-Findus fishing vessels. He specifically remembered working on the Hebridean Princess which had a re-fit or repair work done every winter.

In many of the vessels the bulkheads and deckheads were made from asbestos, or were insulated with it. When these were ripped out they had to be broken down in order that they could be taken out of the ship. No respiratory equipment was provided, and Mr Ramsey worked in confined spaces in the presence of asbestos routinely. This is despite the fact that significant regulation of asbestos products had been in force long before 1990.

Making a claim

We discovered that the Hebridean Princess had been sold and new owners had been fined in 2012 along with a tour operating company. The reason they were fined was that during refurbishment work on the ship asbestos was discovered. This was some 20 years after the claimant had worked on the ship, so the levels when he worked on it would have been much higher.

The company was dissolved but had insurers. Mr Ramsey made an offer of settlement in the sum of £130,000, and this was subsequently accepted shortly after the issue of Court proceedings. The case settled 4 months after instruction, on 2 June 2016.