INTRODUCTION BY JOHN DONOVAN: Royal Dutch Shell Plc (Company Secretary Michiel Brandjes) and Allseas were given advance sight of the article below on Tuesday and notified of my intention to publish today. They were offered the opportunity to point out any factual inaccuracies plus an invitation to supply comment for publication on an unedited basis alongside the article. I stated that if no response was received by today, Friday 31 January, I would take that as confirmation that Shell and Allseas do not challenge the facts as stated. No response was received from either company.
EXTRACT FROM THE ARTICLE: “So we are now in this twisted historical situation that a company with a heavy burden on its shoulders regarding supporting Nazi Germany during and after the leadership of Deterding in the 1930’s, has ordered a company with an equally dubious history to decommission Shell oil platforms using a ship named in honour of a former SS officer.”
By Ton Biesemaat
You cannot escape history: Royal Dutch Shell and Allseas
Two companies with a dubious past history come together. One is Royal Dutch Shell, which under her chief managing director Sir Henri Deterding financially supported Nazi Germany. The other one is Allseas, owned by Edward Heerema. He is the son of Pieter Schelte Heerema, pioneer of the offshore business and a former Waffen SS member and diehard Nazi.
Allseas has ordered a South Korean ship builder to produce one of the largest ships in the world for decommissioning obsolete oil platforms in for example the North Sea. European legislation, which originates from the famous Brent Spar affair, obliges oil companies to dismantle these oil and gas platforms in an environmentally safe way. A whole new multi billion dollar business in the North Sea and Gulf of Mexico is emerging. The mega ship from Allseas is now in its test phase.
It is called Pieter Schelte, named after the father of Edward Heerema, despite his anti-Semitic Nazi past.
This ship with its dubious name was partly designed with a subsidy of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. Questions about this were asked in the parliament in The Hague when the author of this article discovered this affair. But the Dutch state said it could do nothing about it anymore. Strangely enough this affair was published in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and then the international press, but the important Dutch mainstream papers did not publish anything about it.
Now the ship with its Nazi linked name has got the first assignment from Royal Dutch Shell. In 2015/16 it will start dismantling (decommissioning) some Shell Brent platforms in the North Sea.
It seems that Royal Dutch Shell has no problem with the name of this ship, which has already created controversy, as reported by The Telegraph newspaper under the headline “Dutch outcry over naming ship after Nazi,” when work begun on its construction in 2008.
However Pieter Schelte also served in the SS and the choice of his name for the ship has provoked outcry from politicians and Jewish groups, reviving painful questions about Dutch collaboration with the country’s Second World War occupiers. “For people who know his pitch-black history, this ship should not be named for him. Not now, not ever,” said Ronny Naftaniel, director of CIDI, which monitors anti-Semitism in the Netherlands.
One has to know that Pieter Schelte Heerema remained all his life loyal to his dark beliefs*. In South America he supported former SS men who had escaped from Europe after the German defeat. He was known to have been interested in the Adolf Hitler diaries during the late 1970’s (Stern-affair) which later were proven to be falsified documents. Heerema hoped he could prove that Hitler did not order the Holocaust.
His son Edward Heerema managed the big offshore company of his father when the former Waffen SS officer passed away in 1981.
At the funeral of Pieter Schelte Heerema the then head of the board of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, Gerrit (“Gerry”) Wagner, spoke warm words about the offshore pioneer.
Edward Heerema got into a row with his brothers about the family business and started his own company Allseas. It is not known if his contacts with the fanatic Neonazi leader Mrs. Florrie Rost van Tonningen and his involvement with an extreme right magazine published in Flanders were partly the source of this fissure within the Heerema Group. This widow (Black Widow was her nickname) of the Second World War Dutch Nazi front-man Meinoud Rost van Tonningen had previous contacts with the founding father of the Heerema companies. Like Wagner of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, she attended the funeral of the man after which the mega ship was named.
So we are now in this twisted historical situation that a company with a heavy burden on its shoulders regarding supporting Nazi Germany during and after the leadership of Deterding in the 1930’s, has ordered a company with an equally dubious history to decommission Shell oil platforms using a ship named in honour of a former SS officer.
Thanks to EU legislation, a ship with a connection to a terrible past will sail to a glorious future.
* The ships of the Heerema Group are named after Germanic gods.
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