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Lloyd’s Register PR Fanfair Saluting Nazi named mega-ship The Pieter Schelte

THIS ARTICLE, INCLUDING THE SCREENSHOT OF THE FRONT COVER OF JAN 2015 EDITION OF HORIZONS MAGAZINE (IMMEDIATELY BELOW), WAS SUPPLIED IN ADVANCE OF PUBLICATION TO LLOYD’S REGISTER AND ALLSEAS WITH THE INVITATION TO CORRECT ANY INACCURATE INFORMATION. IT FOLLOWS THAT BOTH FIRMS HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK AN INJUNCTION TO PREVENT PUBLICATION. 

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Screen Shot 2015-01-20 at 14.43.40By John Donovan

The above screenshot is from the front cover of the January 2015 edition of Horizons Magazine published by Lloyd’s Register. The front page lead story, is a multipage PR extravaganza trumpeting the key involvement of Lloyd’s Register in the creation and building of the Pieter Schelte, “the world’s largest-ever ship.”

The one thing that spoils the celebration about the gigantic vessel, which arrived in Rotterdam days ago, is that it is named in honour of a senior Waffen SS Nazi officer jailed for war crimes, Pieter Schelte Heerema.

According to one report, after gaining promotion in the Waffen SS, he was responsible for forcibly resettling unemployed Dutch workers into areas of Eastern Europe, where many died.

After release from prison, given the stigma attached to his name, Pieter Schelte prudently retreated to Venezuela, where according to a recent Forbes article, he allegedly helped German war criminals escape Allied justice.

Despite all of this toxic historical baggage, the founder of Allseas, the company that owns The Pieter Schelte, Dutchman Edward Heerema, named the giant ship after his father.

Like many other multinationals involved with The Pieter Schelte project, including the oil company Shell (one of its first customers), and financial backers, ABN Amro, ING, RBS and NIBC, Lloyd’s Register has long known about the dark side of the name, but has remained silent on the toxic issue.

Lloyd’s Register knew of his Nazi pedigree when commissioning, approving and publishing the above PR article, rejoicing in its close connection with the Nazi named ship. The name of the ship is mentioned 15 times in the overall feature, comprising the front page, the contents page and the article pages.

The explanation for the origin of the name fails to reveal the Nazi aspect:

“The 382-metre-long, 123.75-metre- wide, 403,342gt installation/ decommissioning and pipelay vessel is a twin-hulled vessel named after the offshore pioneer Pieter Schelte Heerema, father of the Swiss-based Allseas Group’s owner Edward Heerema.”

Classic PR spin. Some might describe it as a cover-up. “Offshore pioneer” is a much more appealing description than a Waffen SS Nazi officer jailed for war crimes.

Although numerous articles about the controversy have been published since 2007, Lloyd’s Register neglected to disclose what it knew about the astonishing background of the man being honoured in such a prominent way – having the biggest ship in the world named after him.  This was not an individual of high distinction, nor a member of royalty, or a famous historical figure of high regard, but instead, a former officer from the murderous Waffen SS.  

Pieter Schelte Hareema, a Dutch Officer in the Waffen SS during WW2, who had the world's largest ship named after him.

Pieter Schelte Heerema, a Dutch Officer in the Waffen SS during WW2, who had the world’s largest ship named after him.

The name is a mark of distinction, but of the worst possible kind. Who would want to Captain a vessel with such a distasteful name? Who would want to be a member of its crew? Certainly no one of  Jewish descent, or people who are superstitious and might view the Nazi SS name, with all its evil connotations, as being a bad omen attached to the ship. 

No wonder Lloyd’s Register did not openly disclose the stigma attached to the Nazi linked name.

All of the huge businesses associated with Allseas in the Pieter Schelte project, Royal Dutch Shell, bankers and Lloyd’s Register, have uniformly turned a blind eye to the Nazi linked name. (Shell and its Nazi boss, Sir Henri Deterding, financially supported Hitler and the Nazi party for several years in the run up to World War 2.)

On 11 January 2015, I sent an email to Richard Sadler, the Chief Executive Officer of Lloyd’s Register, an institution of global renown founded in 1760.

I received a response the following day on his behalf from the Group Legal Director of Lloyd’s Register, Mr Jim Harrison.

This is what he said in relation to the naming of the vessel.

The role of Lloyd’s Register in relation to this vessel is to provide our technical classification and statutory plan approval, survey and certification services to help ensure the safety of the vessel and its work. We play no part in the choice of, or the approval of, the name of the vessel which is a matter to be decided between the owner and the vessel’s national ship registry which is Panama in this case.

Extracts from my reply:

I note there is no denial that Lloyd’s Register has been well aware for a long time about the controversy surrounding the name.

Would Lloyd’s Register have remained silent and continued with the money spinning contract on the same grounds you have quoted, if the name had been Adolf Hitler? I think we both know the answer.

Personally, I think it is appalling that two global organisations – Lloyd’s Register and Royal Dutch Shell, have allowed a third, Allseas, to foist this affront to decency and the memory of all who perished at the hands of the Nazis.

Whether due to a lack of scruples, or extremely bad judgement, Lloyd’s Register is actively glorifying the project on your website and elsewhere, despite knowing that it is named after a Nazi War Criminal.

Mr Harrison ignored my question to Mr Sadler asking if Lloyd’s Register had raised the issue with Allseas or its owner, Dutchman Edward Heerema, about the wisdom of naming the ship after his father.

The controversy surrounding the Nazi linked name has not just been the subject of news articles since 2007, but was also the subject of a cross examination in a recent extraordinary trial and when I say extraordinary, that description, in this case, is no exaggeration.

The Pieter Schelte and its controversial name were all part of the case before the court. The judge, Mr Justice Peter Smith, thought the Nazi linked name to be of sufficient significance to include extracts from a relevant cross-examination in his judgement dated 26 June 2014 .

Some brief extracts from the cross-examination included in the Judgement:

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: He was in the Dutch SS, was he?

A. No, he was in the German SS.

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: The German SS,

MR TAGER: He joined the German SS, And then he left the SS you say in the middle of the war?

A. I don’t know the exact time but that is .. he changed his mind, that is ..

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: I didn’t know you could leave the SS, I thought it was a job for life.

A. I have no comment on that, my Lord.

MR JUSTICE PETER SMITH: Was he in the Waffen SS or the non-Waffen SS? Do you know?

A. I do not know that. 

MR TAGER: My Lord, some might regard that as a quibble. He was in the SS. And, after the war, he went to Argentina, didn’t he?

A. He went to South America, I think he went to Venezuela.

Q. Venezuela, I’m so sorry, With the help of the Vatican?

Q: And that is why the name of the ship is very controversial isn’t it? They’re not many ships afloat on the seas named after a former member of the SS, are there?

A. No.

Please see paragraph 33 onward of the High Court Judgement – link below. I took the trouble of making the entire judgement available online on a searchable basis.

Other pages from the Judgement provide the judges assessment of Mr Edward Heerema and the competence and gullibility of named Allseas directors. One short-duration Allseas director, Mr Merek Rejniak, was held by the Judge to be one of  the fraudsters responsible for the £100 million scam perpetrated on Allseas.

I think most ordinary people, if they read the information contained in the court documents and via the links below, might share my assessment of Mr Heerema as an arrogant sinister man, apparently normally protected when travelling in his home country by a team of four bodyguards, who employs a security manager (see below) and engages in shady financial machinations.

Leo van Wezel, a former police detective, has been the security manager of Allseas since 1995. It is fair to say that he was ridiculed by the Judge on the basis of his testimony, including his remarks about the notorious American security firm, Blackwater and the US government. His ethics and professionalism were also drawn into question as was the reliability of his testimony. The judge pointed out that Mr Wezel was given evidence by one of the fraudsters to hide from a UK Metropolitan police unit (which specialises in money laundering cases). He removed that evidence from the UK jurisdiction.  It ended up in the hands of solicitors overseas acting for his employer, Allseas.  The judge remarked that it was surprising conduct for a former police officer.

The judge rightly criticised Allseas attitude to the UK police and described it as “another example of the inadequacy of the evidence of Allseas in this case.”

It was the greed of Edward Heerema and his long-time fellow directors, Messrs Kooger and Visser, who the judge described as “unbelievably inept and naive,” that made them dupes in an elaborate pantomime of a scam in which the Pope, The Vatican, The Queen of England, The US Federal Reserve Bank, the UN, and others, were unwitting players. The judge ruled that Messrs Kooger and Visser were in breach of their duties as Allseas directors to the extent that it passed the threshold of potentially constituting contributory negligence in the £12 million loss to the company as a result of the scam – a loss that would have been £100 million if not for the timely determined intervention of the UK police and the action the police took despite opposition and threats from Allseas.

Extract from paragraph 29 of the judgement:

At the end the loss was confined to €12m not because of anything the Claimants did but because of the efforts of the Metropolitan Police who protected the balance of the monies in the Notable account despite the protests on the part of Allseas. They actually threatened the Metropolitan Police with claims for damages if the monies were not released.

Extract from paragraph 331:

Equally, but for the intervention of the Metropolitan Police I have no doubt that the balance of the £88m would have disappeared…

Many of the ingredients here for a good Bond movie. Subterfuge, intrigue, a huge sum of cash, cops, villains, a mysterious tycoon, court room drama, a prominent Nazi, international locations. Wonder who should play Mr Big?

I fully acknowledge that any degree of opprobrium or shame on the part of Lloyd’s Register for the vessel being allowed to sail under the name of The Pieter Schelte is minimal compared with that of its owner. However, Lloyd’s Register had the opportunity to raise the matter and even withdraw from the project at any stage after becoming aware of the Nazi linked name, but failed to to so and was therefore acquiescent to that extent.

Lloyd’s Register would not, under any circumstances, have anything to do with a huge new ship if it was named Adolf Hitler, but turned a blind eye to a less prominent, but still well known and detested Nazi.

I would be amazed if Lloyd’s Register had not, at some time, considered – probably with some trepidation – the possibility of a firestorm of negative publicity eventually arising from the Nazi name. If so, Lloyd’s Register still continued its close association with The Pieter Schelte project despite that obvious possibility.

I sincerely think that Lloyd’s Register should disassociate itself from the project unless this salute to a WAFFEN SS Nazi is dropped. It is offensive, particularly at this sensitive time, as pointed out by Eamonn Fingleton in his most recent Forbes article on the subject: After Charlie Hebdo, An Acute “PR Dilemma” For Big Oil.

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RELATED INFORMATION

Offshore brothers fight each other at sea: de Volkskrant: 17 March 2008 (Google Translation)

Google translation of an fd.nl article updated on 25 December 2014 (which contains a link to the source article in Dutch).

Google translation of a Quote Magazine article dated 18 December 2007: HEEREMA MISTREATED IN DUBAI

RELATED ENGLISH LANGUAGE PUBLICATIONS – OLDEST FIRST 

Offshore Engineer article about Pieter Schelte Heerema April 2008

Dutch outcry over naming giant ship after Nazi: USATODAY/ASSOCIATED PRESS 11 July 2008

Nazi name row torpedoes ship launch: Daily Express 07 Nov 2008

Dutch outcry over naming ship after Nazi: Telegraph 07 Nov 2008

Dutch critics cry foul over naming of giant ship after Nazi collaborator: 7 Nov 2008: The Prince Albert Daily Herald

Ship to be named after Nazi: UPI.com 08 Nov 2008

JEWS UPSET About Naming Of Giant Ship: 11 Nov 2008 TheState.com South Carolina

NAZI SHIP’: GOVERNMENT MUST NOT BE ALLOWED TO DUCK THE QUESTION: SP INTERNATIONAL 21 Nov 2008

Should Ireland oppose insult to jews: Ireland.ie 28 June 2009

Allegations made against Allseas Group: 30 Sept 2012

ALLSEAS PRESS RELEASE Friday 2 August 2013

You cannot escape history: Royal Dutch Shell and Allseas: 31 Jan 2014

Film of Royal Dutch Shell founder Sir Henri Deterding giving a Nazi salute: Article published 23 June 2014

High Court Judgement (INVOLVING EDWARD HEEREMA/ALLSEA’S DIRECTORS:  26 June 2014

Big Oil’s $3 Billion Homage to Nazi War Criminal: Forbes 20 Dec 2014

Petition over Allseas Nazi named ship, the Peter Schelte: 22 Dec 2014

World’s biggest ship, named after Nazi SS officer, stirs protest: The Jerusalem Post 12 Jan 2015

My campaign Against the Huge Nazi Ship: The Pieter Schelte: 12 Jan 2015

Detoxifying Shell’s online image: Possible or Impossible?  15 Jan 2015

After Charlie Hebdo, An Acute “PR Dilemma” For Big Oil: Forbes: 15 Jan 2015

SCREENSHOT BELOW FROM SHELL.COM WEBSITE 16 JAN 2015 WEBPAGE HEADING: News and media for the Brent Decommissioning project.Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 21.40.10

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