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The worlds biggest ship originally with a Nazi name, now named Pioneering Spirit


By John Donovan

There is a considerable PR campaign in full swing at the moment publicising Shell’s association with the world’s largest ship of its kind, Pioneering Spirit. It entered service in 2016.

Shell will be using it to remove Brent Delta topsides. The work is scheduled to begin this summer.

What is less well known is that the Ship began life under the name of a Nazi officer in the Waffen-SS who served during World War II.

Pieter Schelte Heerema, now deceased, was the father of ships owner, Allseas tycoon Edward Heerema.

Shell was aware of the Nazi name but raised no objections.

I took an opposite view and started a campaign which persuaded Allseas to reverse course and change the name

Allseas caved in on 9 February 2015 after maritime unions and the UK government became involved. Shell also changed its view in the face of the growing controversy. It put pressure on Allseas to ditch the offensive name.

I give due credit to Edward Heerema for making the change and accept that he had a high regard for his father who became a very successful businessman after the war.


Five myths about dismantling North Sea oil rigs: EconoTimes 14 April 2017

The £2.6bn ship lifting an oil rig off its hinges: 15 April 2017: Daily Telegraph 15 April 2017

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