OOCL reports that the French Court had issued a verdict on an investigation opened by the authorities in July 2004, a year after the accident on 3 July 2003 where their director, Mr Courtenay Allan, died on their newly delivered 4,400 TEU container ship OOCL Montreal.
The first instance court in Le Havre issued its verdict on 2 July 2014 that OOCL should be fined €50,000. Not having seen the judgment we cannot comment on the basis of the French court verdict, we find it difficult to reconcile the verdict with the results of the investigations made by various independent experts. We have made a filing today in order to keep the appeal process open, pending the release of the judgment from the French Court. For the last 11 years, we have sought the truth behind the cause of Mr Allan’s death. To date, none of the independent experts including the French court surveyor were able to identify the person that had interfered and tampered with the lift system. The Company had invited the French magistrate to expand the court’s enquiries to include the shipbuilders and lift manufacturers, but unfortunately to no avail.
OOCL has on several occasions expressed its deepest and most sincere regret for this tragic event, in person by senior management and in open court at the Le Havre hearing. Mr Courtenay Allan was held in the highest regard and the Company remains deeply saddened by his passing.
A full settlement was reached with Mr Allan’s estate in 2005. Mr Allan’s sons have separately filed a claim for civil damages in the French court in May 2014, which claim was adjourned by the court and is due to be considered later this year.