Yesterday’s announcement from Shell on awarding the Brent field decommissioning contract to the Allseas’ Pieter Schelte attracted comments and reactions from maritime workers union.
According to RMT “a vessel which is named after a top German Nazi jailed for war crimes at the end of the war,” doesn’t have a place in UK.
RMT also pointed out that “the vessel operates under a Panamanian flag of convenience, employing socially-dumped foreign labour on pitiful pay and conditions.”
Mick Cash, General Secretary of RMT said: “Coming just days after we remembered the liberation of Auschwitz it is sickening that a vessel named after a senior Nazi, jailed for war crimes, is set to be working on a tax-payer funded contract in British waters. This scandal must be stopped and RMT will work with our sister union’s and the ITF to bring this outrage to public attention and force it to be called to a halt.”
Reasons behind the name
The vessel was named after the Allseas owner Edward Heerema’s father. His father, Pieter Schelte Heerema, served as a Waffen SS officer and was imprisoned after the second world war.
In an email statement issued by Allseas the company’s owner Edward Heerema explained the reasons for naming the vessel by his father. Also the company informed that it doesn’t have an intention to change the name of the vessel.
Read the full statement below:
After a career as a civil contractor in Venezuela since 1947, Pieter Schelte Heerema, born in 1908, moved to The Netherlands and entered the North Sea with a crane ship for oil platform installation.
He developed his company further until his death in 1981. By that time he had built several technically innovative crane vessels and became known as the pioneer of the offshore construction industry, making the installation of large platforms in the rough North Sea possible. He installed the majority of all large offshore platforms in that area. He was widely respected by the oil companies.
The technical creativity and entrepreneurship of Pieter Schelte Heerema were an example for his son Edward (born 1947) from the time he was a child up to the eight years that he worked for his father in the Heerema company. This example laid the foundation for Allseas, the company which Edward formed in 1985, three years after his father’s death.
The building of the single-lift ship “Pieter Schelte” marks a technical breakthrough in installation and clean and safe removal of oil platforms world-wide. It is precisely Edward’s acknowledgement of his father’s creativity and entrepreneurship that led to the choice of the name of the ship, already in 1987.
As the son, engineer and entrepreneur, Edward builds on the foundations that his father laid, and which made him the engineer he is today.
The wartime past of Pieter Schelte Heerema remains difficult and painful for his family, and for many others. Edward has expressly disassociated himself from his father’s sympathies in the Second World War. The naming of the vessel reflects what the late Pieter Schelte Heerema has accomplished in the field of construction, which has been of great significance to the development of offshore oil and gas production until the present day.
Edward Heerema, February 2nd, 2015.
The vessel was contracted by Shell for this project back in 2013. The scope of work in the first decommissioning programme will consist of removal of Brent Delta platform’s topsides in a single lift.
A second decommissioning programme will cover the removal of the remaining infrastructure in the Brent field, including Brent Delta’s legs, three other sets of topsides and legs, 140 wells and 28 pipelines.
The Pieter Schelte which recently arrived to Rotterdam for the final outfitting is the largest ship in the world.
The vessel is 382 metres long and 124 metres wide, and it is intended for installing and removing topsides and jackets of large offshore oil and gas platforms in a single lift.