SHELL, DE HALVE WAARHEID EN DE DOOFPOT…. Shell, half the truth and the cover-up….
By Alfred and John Donovan
In 1974 it was reported that a Shell employee, Leo Rapmund (36), a crewmember on the Shell tanker, ‘Capulonix’, had gone missing, presumed lost overboard.
Over two decades later Rapmund’s family was contacted by a fellow crewmember at the time of the tragedy who wanted to clear his conscience about his knowledge of what really happened. Basically he revealed that Leo Rapmund had been murdered and there were many eyewitnesses to the crime.
The family claim that when they contacted Shell in 1995 with this alarming news, Shell and its lawyers (the most prestigious and expensive law firm in the Netherlands, De Braauw, Blackstone & Westbroek) denied any knowledge or responsibility and treated them in a disgusting and arrogant manner. All responsibility and accountability were rejected. The family was fobbed-off like a bunch of nagging children.
In 2008, the family contacted the acclaimed Dutch investigative crime reporter Peter R. de Vries who has his own Emmy Award winning TV programme. De Vries has been involved in a number of high profile cases including that of Natalee Holloway, the American student who mysteriously disappeared in 2005 while on a high school graduation trip to the Caribbean Island of Aruba.
De Vries approached Shell HQ in The Hague on 23 February 2009 and spoke with a senior Shell Public Relations official, Herman Kievits. His response was described as arrogant, at arms length and mainly on the lines that ‘we know nothing’. The same holds true for the lawyers.
On 26 April 2009 Peter R. de Vries presented the case in his TV programme. Afterwards a number of viewers contacted Shell and expressed disgust at these cover-ups by the oil company.
The viewers who reacted towards Shell, all received a rather clumsy standard reaction with many half-truths. The facts however are totally different and in his unique manner Peter R. de Vries dissects all the nonsense by Shell and provides substantial evidence on what really happened. He tracked down a dozen witnesses of the murder. They all confirmed that Leo Rapmund had been in a fight on board and was shoved overboard. He managed to just hang on to the railing but his assailant had kicked his hands so long that he had to let go and disappeared forever in the waves. This act was unanimously described as ‘murder’. The witnesses were greatly surprised that they never have been formally heard nor summoned in a court case.
De Vries also makes mincemeat of all the statements by Shell and detailed evidence is provided on his website. He exposes Shell as a bunch of liars. In the end Shell even had to admit in a letter to him that they ‘did not know’ what happened to the assailant and why he had not been charged. Shell even did not know whether the man had been fired or not. That in itself is strange: on a tanker of Shell a Shell employee is literally kicked overboard by another Shell employee, but Shell subsequently never informs how all this has been handled in a legal matter.