UK’s maritime workers union yesterday slammed a decision by Shell to hire the Allseas’ ‘Pieter Schelte’ vessel for the Brent field decommissioning project.
The vessel was named after the late father of Edward Heerema, the owner of Allseas.
The unions are outraged by the fact that the vessel bears the name of the late Pieter Schelte who was a Waffen-SS officer and was imprisoned after the second world war. Both RMT and Unite have called for the vessel to have the name changed or not to work in the UK North Sea at all.
Offshore Energy Today contacted Allseas asking for a comment on these actions by the union.
In the response Allseas said that there is no intention to change the name of the vessel. In addition, the company provided a letter signed by the company’s owner, Edward Heerema, where he explains the rationale behind the decision to name the vessel after his late father.
Read the full letter 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
Update: February 4, 2014 6:37 p.m. CET
When asked to comment on the unions’ request for the vessel’s name to be changed, a Shell spokesperson told Offshore Energy Today that issue is “very much a matter of Allseas,” adding that the vessel is the best one for the Brent field decommissioning job.
The spokesperson wouldn’t comment on possible effects of these actions on the contract with Allseas.
Offshore Energy Today Staff