With more than 500 vessels completed for the United States Navy, United States Merchant Marine, United States Coast Guard, and other maritime organizations, the New York Shipbuilding Corporation played a significant role in building ships used during both world wars. When World War I broke out, the shipyard was highly active, constructing a large number of ships. During World War II, the shipyard extended its product range to include the construction of a battleship, Independence-class light carriers, and more than ninety landing craft and tanks. New York Shipbuilding Company depended heavily on asbestos for most of the period it was in operation. As a result, thousands of employees were placed in danger of developing devastating diseases.