Mesothelioma and the Trawling Industry

Mesothelioma and the Trawling Industry

FishingTrawler and exposure to asbestos
The tragic case of Brian Peter Germaney highlights the tragic fact that asbestos-related disease affects many industries and thousands of lives.

Mr Germaney worked at Consolidated Fisheries Ltd in Grimsby for around 28 years, mainly on the trawlers[1].

At his inquest, the coroner heard that he was not given a mask or warned of the dangers of asbestos at his work.  He was diagnosed with mesothelioma on August 22nd last year, and he died four months later.

Dangerous work-practices

The coroner heard evidence of the dangerous work practices Mr Germaney and his colleagues were exposed to during their time working on the trawlers.  Many of them ripped asbestos lagging from pipes with their bare hands and mixed paste with bags of asbestos emptied into buckets.  They regularly swept up the asbestos dust.  In addition, they were exposed to the material daily even taking overalls home to wash, leading to the risk of their families encountering the deadly substance.

Secondary exposure to asbestos leads to death of trawler engineer’s wife

In June 2016, an inquest heard how Margaret Maggs died of peritoneal mesothelioma.  The coroner concluded that Mrs Maggs used to wash her husband’s overalls which were “filthy” with dust.

Colin Maggs worked as an engineer in the trawler industry. A statement read to the coroner, written by Mrs Maggs in 2008 stated:

"From 1967 to 1970, I was still living at home but seeing Colin nearly every day. He would come for lunch at my parent's home, and he was still in his overalls.

"He would keep them on, during which time we would spend about an hour together.

"He did not have a washing machine in his bungalow, so I took his overalls and some of the other clothes back to my parents' home to wash them".

The statement added: "He only washed his overalls once every couple of weeks and they were absolutely filthy by that stage".

I remember laying them on the floor and trying to brush them with a yard brush to try and get some of the dirt off before washing them.

Mrs Maggs also explained how she used to travel in the same car as her husband while he was wearing his overalls.

The coroner concluded that Mrs Maggs had died of an industrial disease.


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How does asbestos cause mesothelioma?

Asbestos is made up of tiny fibres; when inhaled, these can become lodged and irritate the pleural lining of the lung, resulting in the development of cancerous cells.

Some of the fibres are coughed up and then swallowed, which can lead to peritoneal mesothelioma developing.

Very helpful from start to finish. Kept me informed on all developments. Easy to contact if I had a query. [They] explained everything in easy to understand language, and worked to [their]  best ability to give me the best result.

-  Mrs S. Bryant, Reading, Mesothelioma client

Who is most at risk of developing mesothelioma?

Mesothelioma can take decades to develop, but once it is diagnosed, it often kills swiftly.  There is no cure.

Men who worked in the manufacturing, construction and engineering industries who are most at risk.  They had the most likely chance of being exposed to asbestos products. 

Risks are particularly high for metal plate workers (mainly in shipbuilding) and carpenters.

Those under 30 at the time of exposure may have an increased danger of developing an asbestos-related disease[2].

Families, especially the wives of these men, who were responsible for the household laundry, also have a high risk of secondary asbestos exposure.

Claiming compensation for asbestos exposure

Receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma is devastating, both for the victim and their family.  Compensation can lead to peace of mind that the financial affairs of those left behind are taken care of.  It can also help fund the best comfort and care for the victim’s final days.

It is crucial for victims and their families to have a caring, compassionate legal team on their side if they choose to claim compensation.  Therefore, it is important to pick legal representation with care and take the time to find a firm who will deal with your case with the sensitivity it deserves.

At IBB, our industrial diseases solicitors have the expertise and knowledge to advise and represent you if you wish to seek compensation for asbestos related disease.  To talk about how we might be able to help, please phone us on 0333 123 9099, email us at or fill in our contact form.  Any discussions you have with us will be in the strictest of confidence.




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