In space, no one can hear you…when you’re cut adrift.


(SPOILER ALERT: if you have not played through SEGA’s Alien: Isolation, be warned: THERE BE SPOILERS AHEAD!)






If you’ve read this blog, you might have picked up on my fascination with the real world shipping industry, and its applicability to the realistic imagining of the Nostromo and other commercial ships plying the intra-galactic shipping lanes of the 22nd Century. never fails to cover something that fires my imagination, and this article got me thinking of Alien: Isolation and Sevastopol Station:

Transocean Rig Aground in Scotland After Tow Breaks in Heavy Weather – Incident Photos

It seems that a Transocean semi-submersible drilling rig ran aground Monday (August 8) in Scotland’s Western Isles, after breaking free from its tow overnight in heavy weather.

After you look at the article, have a peep at this:

Okay, so I’ll admit that despite its being a type from which inferences to the Alien universe might be drawn, there are a few differences between the Transocean Winter rig and the Seegson Sevastopol station:

  1. The Transoceanic Winter is a drilling rig located off the coast of Scotland (Earth); the Seegson Sevastopol was a large space station orbiting the gas giant KG-348.
  2. The Transocean Winter weighs 17,000 tonnes; the tonnage of the Seegson Sevastopol station is not known, but given its similarity to the automated refinery platform towed by the Nostromo,  it could run somewhere in the neighborhood of  45 million tonnes*.
  3. The Transocean Winter carries approximately 280 metric tons of diesel; It is unknown how much fuel and other combustible pollutants are currently on the Seegson Sevastopol.
  4. There are no personnel aboard the Transocean Winter; their were an undetermined number of survivors aboard the Seegson Sevastopol.
  5. The woes of the Transocean Winter were brought about by heavy weather amid Scotland’s Western Isles; the source of the problems on the Seegson Sevastopol were, ahem, alien to that area of concern.
  6.   The Transocean Winter is terrestrial; the Seegson Sevastopol was orbital, meaning it had much (much) farther to fall…

So, I am glad that there was no one aboard the rig when she cut loose, but I am sure that, in lieu of their lost wages until the rig is towed back to its rightful place, the crew might wish there was a bonus situation that could come to play…

* estimated from its 200 million tonnes (DWT) capacity with an estimated -25 percent reduction, based on a present-day cargo-to-ship-displacement ratio.

Supporting evidence for my computations:

cargo weight
This title card establishes the amount of ore aboard the refinery.
This readout establishes that the refinery is not carrying a full load of ore.

And with regard to the relationship between dead weight and displacement tonnages, I consulted the American Merchant Seaman’s Manual (edited by William B. Hayley, John M. Keever, and Paul M. Seiler. Centreville, Maryland: Cornell Maritime Press, 1981).



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