Former Merchant Navy Worker Died Of Asbestos-Related Cancer

Industrial Illness Experts Appeal To Ship Worker Colleagues For Information


By Helen MacGregor

The widow of a former Merchant Navy worker, who died of an asbestos-related disease, is appealing to his former colleagues to get in touch as she launches a battle for justice.

Father-of-two Oslo Schive died of mesothelioma, a cancer on the lining of the lungs caused by inhaling deadly asbestos dust, aged 74 in December 2011.

His devastated wife Mary instructed asbestos experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell and is now backing their calls for his former colleagues to come forward, as they may have vital evidence about his exposure to the deadly dust.

Before his death, Oslo, who was born in Cape Town South Africa, but lived in Dartford most of his adult life, remembered being exposed to asbestos when he worked as a kitchen assistant after joining the Merchant Navy in 1960.

He worked onboard the ‘Carnarvon Castle’, a steam ship owned by the Union Castle Line and he could remember there being asbestos in the engine and boiler rooms as well as pipes that were lagged with the material which was used for fireproofing.

Helen Ashton, a Partner and industrial illness expert at Irwin Mitchell’s London office representing Mary, said: “Oslo’s family have been devastated by their loss and are appealing for anyone who worked onboard the Carnarvon Castle, particularly when it sailed from Southampton to Capetown between March 1960 and January 1961, as we believe they may have vital information that could help with Mary’s legal claim.

“Mesothelioma is an industrial illness for which there is sadly no cure. Employers have been well aware of the dangers of exposing workers to asbestos since the 1950s and 60s so there was no excuse for not protecting them from this deadly dust.”

Oslo, who left the navy in 1966, was referred for a chest X-ray at the Medway Maritime Hospital in March 2011 after suffering symptoms of breathlessness. He was diagnosed with mesothelioma shortly after and sadly passed away on 7 December that year.

Wife Mary, 70, said: “When we were told Oslo’s diagnosis we were absolutely devastated and struggled to accept that something he had been exposed to so long ago, through no fault of his own, had caused him to be terminally ill.

“He tried to fight the illness but it was too aggressive and there was nothing that could be done for him.

“We just hope that anyone who remembers working with Oslo or worked onboard the Carnarvon Castle in the early 1960s gets in touch as any information, no matter how small, could help us in our battle for justice.”

Anyone who thinks they can help is asked to contact Helen Ashton or Nicole Stringfellow at Irwin Mitchell on 0370 1500 100 or email or

If you or a loved one has been affected by an asbestos related illness, our solicitors can help you to claim compensation. See our Asbestos Claims page for more information.