Real-world inspirations.


IMHO, the key to speculative fiction writing in the Alien universe is verisimilitude.

This article, posted at, gives me something to think about when it comes to how a ship master might be treated for whistleblowing by his employer.

Photo of the M/V Horizon Trader taken in March 2013 by Will Van Dorp. From

The case is John Loftus v. Horizon Lines, Inc. and Matson Alaska, Inc.

In 2013, Captain Loftus was Master of the Horizon Trader, an 813 foot long container ship operating on the eastern seaboard between New York, Jacksonville, and San Juan Puerto Rico. Despite his 20 year unblemished record as a Captain, in June 2013 he was abruptly removed as Master due to his reporting of safety violations to the U.S. Coast Guard and its delegated inspection agency, the American Bureau of Shipping.

More photos of the Horizon Trader (by Will Van Dorp), apparently a 40-year-old vessel in an industry where 35 years is the average fleet age of Horizon’s container vessels.

I have to wonder if this might be a good riff for a story about an employee on a commercial towing vehicle and the friendly folks at Wey-Yu…



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