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Settlement Secured For Former Royal Navy Marine Engineer Diagnosed With Mesothelioma

Expert Industrial Disease Lawyers Secure Settlement For Gateshead Man


Asbestos-related disease experts at law firm Irwin Mitchell have secured an undisclosed settlement for a former Royal Navy marine Engineer who was diagnosed with mesothelioma after being exposed to asbestos during his time in the armed forces decades ago.

Colin (George) Thorne, 59, from Wardley, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, was diagnosed with the incurable cancer that affects the lining of the lungs in December 2013, which was caused by his exposure to asbestos during his 25-year career with the Royal Navy.

Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell’s Newcastle office have now secured him a settlement from the Ministry of Defence, where he worked between 1971 and 1995, after the government department admitted responsibility for Colin’s exposure to asbestos.

While working as a marine engineer in the Royal Navy, Colin, a father of three, was exposed to the hazardous substance on a number of vessels, where he would carry out repair work to pipework, which involved removing and cutting asbestos lagging, creating a dusty work environment where he would inhale asbestos dust and fibres.

He was also exposed to asbestos during the cleaning procedures that would take place on board nuclear submarines, which would disturb asbestos dust and release it into the atmosphere.

Colin told lawyers that he was not offered any form of breathing mask or respiratory equipment while working with the pipework on board Royal Navy vessels and measures were not in place to prevent the spread of asbestos dust.

Roger Maddocks, an expert industrial disease lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, who represented Colin, said: 

Expert Opinion
“The failure of the Royal Navy to protect its workers from the dangers of asbestos in this case is unacceptable. Colin worked as a marine engineer for 25 years and spent a lot of that time working closely with asbestos lagging and in a very dusty environment.

“Sadly, he was not warned of the dangers to his health asbestos posed and was not provided with equipment that would have prevented him from inhaling the deadly dust and fibres. He has now been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a very aggressive and incurable form of cancer, as a result of these failings by his employer.

“We are delighted to have been able to secure Colin and his wife, Deborah, a settlement from the Ministry of Defence, which will go some way to providing them with financial security in this difficult time.”
Roger Maddocks, Partner

Colin said: “The mesothelioma diagnosis I received completely knocked me and my wife, for six, particularly as it has been caused simply by going to work and doing my job. I am no longer able to work and struggle to go out as much as I used to because of the breathlessness I experience.

“We are extremely concerned what the future holds for us as my condition worsens and we are still struggling to come to terms with things. Ultimately, we feel extremely angry that I was not given the equipment that would have prevented me from inhaling asbestos while working onboard Royal Navy vessels.

“I am delighted to have received this settlement from the MoD and that they have been held to account for failing to protect me from the dangers of asbestos.

“The settlement will be used to fund the care I will need as my condition worsens and to provide some financial security for my wife.”

Our expert mesothelioma claims team will provide you with free initial advice on your compensation claim if you or a loved on has been diagnosed with mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure. See our Asbestos-Related Disease Claims Guide for more information.

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