Sacked Horizon whistleblower awarded more than $1m in damages

Sacked Horizon whistleblower awarded more than $1m in damages

A court in the US has awarded more than $1m to a former Horizon Lines master who was sacked in 2013 following a whistleblowing incident. Captain John Loftus was removed from his post three years ago, having worked for the American line for 20 years. He had reported safety violations on the ship he’d been working for, the Horizon Trader boxship, to the US Coast Guard and class society ABS.

“Loftus resorted to reporting safety concerns to the regulatory agencies because of Horizon’s consistent failure to correct hazardous conditions aboard the Trader. Loftus was clearly a thorn in Horizon’s side,” a judge noted in a detailed 48-page ruling.

Loftus has been awarded $655,000 in back wages, $225,000 in punitive damages, $10,000 for emotional distress, and more than $200,000 in legal costs.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.

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