Former Ship Repair Worker Seeks Help After Asbestos Cancer Diagnosis

Asbestos Lawyers Appeal To Former Colleagues For Help In Battle For Justice


A former ship repair worker who has been diagnosed with an asbestos-related disease is appealing to his former colleagues to get in touch as he believes they may hold vital evidence about the presence of the deadly dust.

Grandfather-of-three Zekharia Banin, 76, was diagnosed with mesothelioma (a cancer in the lining of the lungs) in May last year and believes he was exposed to asbestos dust and fibres during his time working for ship repair company Richards, on East India Dock Road in London, from 1959 to 1961.

Zekharia, who lives in East Barnet with his wife Danielle Phyllis instructed asbestos experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell to help him in his battle for justice. The firm would now like to hear from any of his former colleagues at Richards, as they may hold vital evidence about the presence of asbestos and working conditions at the firm.

Alice Humphreys from Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing Zekharia, said: “The family have understandably been left devastated by Zekharia’s diagnosis of this terminal disease.

“Zekharia believes asbestos was probably being sprayed onto parts for ships to make them fireproof and the door to the spraying room was often left open which meant the workshop Zekharia worked in would get dusty.

“He remembers debris from the workshop’s crumbling walls falling to the floor and breaking up and crumbling. Part of his role was to sweep the workshop floor each day so he believes he inhaled some of the dust because he was not provided with a proper mask to wear, only a welding mask which was open at the sides. He was not warned of the dangers.

“Mesothelioma is an asbestos-related disease for which there is sadly no cure. Employers have been well aware of the dangers for many decades so there is no excuse for workers not being protected.

“We hope Zekharia’s former colleagues will get in touch as any information about the firm, no matter how small, could help in his battle for justice.”

Zekharia began suffering from breathlessness and chest pain early last year. After undergoing tests and scans, he was diagnosed with mesothelioma in May 2012.

He said: “When the doctors gave me the diagnosis I just couldn’t believe it. It is very hard to come to terms with the fact that something I was exposed to so long ago, that I had no choice about, has now made me terminally ill.

“I was still working as a silversmith until recently but I’ve had to give it up because the cancer makes me feel so unwell.

“I just hope my former colleagues get in touch as they may hold vital information about the asbestos dust.”

Anyone who thinks they can help is asked to contact Alice Humphreys at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise related to mesothelioma