General Maritime Corporation (NYSE:GMR) announced that a jury in the Southern District of Texas federal court returned guilty verdicts against two vessel officers of the Genmar Defiance, one of the company's wholly-owned Aframax vessels, and GMM Portugal, a subsidiary of the company, on two counts for violating the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships and 18 USC 1001, respectively, in connection with an investigation and trial previously reported by the company relating to potential failures by shipboard staff to properly record discharges of bilge waste during the period of November 24, 2007 through November 26, 2007.
The company intends to appeal the guilty verdicts and to make motions for a judgment of acquittal and a new trial. There can be no assurance that the company will prevail on appeal or on such motions. On the first count, the jury found that the two vessel officers violated the Act to Prevent Pollution from Ships by failing to maintain an accurate oil record book for the Genmar Defiance. On the second count, the jury found that the two vessel officers violated 18 USC 1001 by presenting a materially false oil record book for the Genmar Defiance to the U.S. Coast Guard on November 28, 2007. On each count, the jury held GMM Portugal vicariously liable for the acts of the two vessel officers, as it determined these crewmembers were acting within the scope of their employment and for the benefit of GMM Portugal when they presented the oil record book to the U.S. Coast Guard with entries that they knew to be false. GMM Portugal and the two vessel officers are scheduled to be sentenced on February 10, 2009. The company believes that GMM Portugal faces a maximum fine of $1m and a maximum term of probation of five years. The company cannot predict the outcome of the sentencing proceedings.
General Maritime Corporation is a provider of international seaborne crude oil transportation services principally within the Atlantic basin which includes ports in the Caribbean, South and Central America, the United States, West Africa, the Mediterranean, Europe and the North Sea. General Maritime also currently operates tankers in other regions including the Black Sea and Far East. After delivery of a recently acquired Aframax vessel which is expected to occur in December 2008, General Maritime will own a fleet of 23 tankers – twelve Aframax, and eleven Suezmax tankers with a total carrying capacity of approximately 2.9 million dwt.