Friday, February 13, 2015

Pressure from Shipping Industry and Jewish Groups Leads to Change of Vessel Name

Offshore Crane Ship to be Rechristened After Condemnation from All Sides
Shipping News Feature

SWITZERLAND – Following our story earlier this month it appears that Swiss offshore pipeline installation and subsea construction group, Allseas has bowed down to the mounting international pressures from shipping industry associations and Jewish groups, to rename its newly built massive crane ship, Pieter Schelte. The Panamanian flagged vessel, which was named after Allseas Group's President, Edward Heerema’s father, will now be known as the Pioneering Spirit.

Pieter Schelte (the man) was a known Nazi who had been jailed for war crimes at the end of WWll and whose known history we have already covered. Allseas, in a statement, explained that ‘it has never been the intention to offend anyone’, continuing:

“The [new] name of the vessel reflects what she stands for: a new technological step in platform installation and decommissioning. It also fits the 30-year tradition of Allseas to pioneer and surpass technical boundaries, as was done over the years introducing pipelay on dynamic positioning and laying pipelines in ever deeper waters. This vessel encompasses all innovations that have been developed by Allseas over the last 30 years.”

In a statement released earlier this month, the Allseas Group explained the reasoning behind naming the vessel, the Pieter Schelte, saying:

“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.”

The 403,342 gross tonne Pioneering Spirit, which measures more than 124 metres wide and 382 metres long, lays claim to be the biggest ship in the world and is now scheduled to assist decommissioning of the topsides of three of Royal Dutch Shell’s Brent platforms that are situated on the UK Continental Shelf.

N.B. Although the Pieter Schelte can lay claim to being the largest vessel afloat it is certainly not the longest ever. This title belonged to the Seawise Giant, a true supertanker which stretched out to over 458 metres against a mere 382 or so for the crane vessel. The comparative width of the split hulled Allseas ship is some 56 metres wider than the oil tanker was however. The longer ship was broken up on the Alang beaches in 2009.