The biggest vessel in the world, the Pieter Schelte (above) has been built by Daewoo in South Korea. Swiss company Allseas commissioned the building of the huge $1.7bn ship. Both the legs and main structure of a rig can be moved simultaneously (shown in illustration)
Article by Eamonn Fingleton published by Forbes.com: 20 December 2014
Big Oil’s $3 Billion Homage to Nazi War Criminal
Ships don’t come bigger than the Pieter Schelte. They don’t come more controversial either. Built in Korea at a cost of nearly $3 billion, the gargantuan new ship is now sailing towards the Netherlands, where it will soon enter service in the European offshore oil industry.
A huge catamaran, it weighs 932,000 tons, a world record, and nearly 18 times the Titanic. It will lift offshore oil rigs weighing up to 48,000 tons, again a world record. So much for the technicalities – but there is, ahem, a slight political problem: the ship’s name.
Almost unbelievably, the ship has been named in honor of Pieter Schelte Beerema, a Dutch collaborator in Nazi-occupied Netherlands. An officer in the Waffen SS and a propagandist who allegedly denounced the Jews as “parasitic,” Beerema was sentenced to three years in prison after World War II. Although the sentence was later reduced (apparently because of evidence that, after a row with the Nazis, he had changed sides in 1943), he went on after release to flee to Venezuela, where he allegedly helped German war criminals escape Allied justice.
To put it mildly, Pieter Schelte (left) hardly seems the most appropriate name for one of the world’s greatest engineering feats. But some people disagree – not least Beerema’s son, Edwin Beerema. As Edwin happens to control the Swiss-based Allseas oil services company that owns the ship, his opinion matters.
The interesting thing is that Allseas seems to be getting away with this. The Dutch government even provided a subsidy for the project. Meanwhile, after a brief flurry of interest in 2008 when the original contract to build the Pieter Schelte was signed with Korea’s Daewoo shipyard, the Dutch press has largely swept the controversy under the rug.
As for the ship’s Big Oil customers, they too seem unfazed. In the North Sea alone, important potential customers would appear to include Marathon Oil, ConocoPhillips, and Royal Dutch Shell, none of whom has responded to requests for comment. Other key potential customers include Exxon Mobil, Statoil, and BHP. As for Allseas, a spokesman stated that the company has no plans to rename the ship and said that, as a matter of company policy, it does not provide information on future projects. A request to comment on whether Pieter Schelte Beerema had used the word “parasitic” in relation to Jews went unanswered.
If Shell whistleblower John Donovan is to be believed, the Pieter Schelte’s first customer will be Netherlands-based Royal Dutch Shell. Assuming this is correct, Shell’s embrace of the Pieter Schelte will provide lesser companies with useful cover. The fact is that as of 2013 Royal Dutch Shell had surpassed Exxon Mobil to become the West’s largest oil company by revenues (though even Royal Dutch Shell these days trails behind two Chinese oil companies in the world league table). For more details on the Pieter Schelte, click here and here.
FORBES ARTICLE ENDS – LINK TO FORBES ARTICLE
ABOVE GRAPHICS AND PHOTO HAVE BEEN ADDED BY JOHN DONOVAN AND HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH FORBES.
Related Associated Press Article published 11/7/2008 by USAToday under the headline: Dutch outcry over naming giant ship after Nazi
Edwin Heerema, founder of the company that has commissioned the $1.7 billion vessel, wants to name it the Pieter Schelte after his late father, Pieter Schelte Heerema, who was renowned as a maritime engineer but was condemned for his service in the murderous Nazi Waffen SS.
The choice of name has provoked outcry from politicians and Jewish groups, and revived painful questions about Dutch collaboration with the country’s World War II 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. He said Edwin Heerema’s desire to honor his father was understandable up to a point, but the choice of name was “tasteless and unethical.”
RELATED DAILY MAIL ARTICLE: World’s largest ship so big it can lift an OIL RIG takes to the seas: Empire State-length boat will begin moving structures next year
RELATED ARTICLE CONTAINING STATEMENT FROM ALLSEAS ISSUED TO JOHN DONOVAN (WITH THREAT OF LEGAL ACTION)
Any implication that Allseas is any way involved in, or supported by, a political agenda – including any reference to conspiracy, criminality and non-transparent business relationships – is completely unfounded and refuted in the strongest possible terms. While Allseas welcomes the right to freedom of expression, facts that are inaccurate or used in suggestive context can severely damage the company’s reputation and will not be tolerated. In that case Allseas will take immediate legal action against companies and/or individuals.
IF ALLSEAS AND/OR ROYAL DUTCH SHELL PLC TAKES ISSUE WITH THE ACCURACY OF ANYTHING PUBLISHED BY JOHN DONOVAN ON THIS SUBJECT, THEN THEY ARE FREE SEPARATELY, OR JOINTLY, TO TAKE APPROPRIATE ACTION. IT SEEMS REASONABLE TO SPECULATE THAT FORBES WENT AHEAD WITH PUBLICATION OF THEIR ARTICLE BASED PARTLY ON THE INFORMATION PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED ON THIS WEBSITE BY JOHN DONOVAN AND THE FACT THAT ALLSEAS DID NOT TAKE LEGAL ACTION. OTHER MAINSTREAM PUBLISHERS ARE LIKELY TO BE SIMILARLY EMBOLDENED IF ALLSEAS ONCE AGAIN FAILS TO TAKE LEGAL ACTION. IT IS INCREDIBLE THAT THE SON OF THE NAZI WAR CRIMINAL IS SO ARROGANT THAT HE WENT AHEAD WITH THE NAMING OF THE SHIP IN HONOUR OF HIS FATHER, DESPITE THE LIKELY HIGHLY DAMAGING IMPACT ON THE REPUTATION OF ALLSEAS IF ANYONE DARED TO PUBLISH THE STORY, IRRESPECTIVE OF THE THREATS. AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED ON 2 DEC 2014 BY NIEUWSBLAD TRANSPORT CONFIRMS THAT THE NAZI SHIP IS STILL SCHEDULED TO REMOVE THE TOPSIDES OF THREE SHELL PLATFORMS IN THE NORTHSEA.