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General Maritime to pay $1M for falsifying records
March 16, 2009 5:23 PM ET
Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) – The Department of Justice said Monday that a federal judge has sentenced the management unit of oil tanker owner General Maritime Corp. and two crew members of one of its vessels for making false statements to the U.S. Coast Guard and failing to maintain accurate record books.

The sentences were related to incidents onboard the Genmar Defiance during a voyage to Corpus Christi, Texas in November 2007. On Nov. 24, 2007, the Justice Department said engine room crew members were directed by the accused crew members to help hook up a hose to bypass a pollution filter system.

The connection allowed the engineers to “trick” the oil content meter and prevent it from shutting a valve that would re-circulate oily water.

The court sentenced General Maritime Management LDA late Friday to pay a $1 million fine. The company was also sentenced to serve five years of probation.

While on probation, the company is required to rehire the five “whistleblowers” that alerted officials of the violation if they reapply for employment, submit monthly compliance reports and allow a court appointed official to perform three audits of each vessel and three audits of its shore side office during the probation period.

Violations of the terms could result in one or more of the company’s ships being banned from U.S. waters during the five-year term.

Both crew members were sentenced in February to three months in a halfway house, a $500 fine, a special assessment of $200 and five years probation.

During the hearing, the court awarded the five whistleblowers a combined $250,000.

A spokesman for New York-based General Maritime Corp. was not immediately available to comment.

General Maritime shares rose a penny Monday to close at $7.07.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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