The Swiss-based Allseas Group’s new ship, Pieter Schelte, is 1, 146 feet long and 372 feet wide. Built by Daewoo Heavy Industries in South Korea, at a reported cost of $2.85 billion, it is capable of lifting loads of 48, 000 tons. It is the world’s largest offshore pipelay and platform installation vessel, equipped with a Sonardyne Ranger 2 USBL acoustic positioning system. It’s also named after a Nazi.
According to the Netherlands Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies’ David Barnouw, cited by the Guardian, Pieter Schelte was “a member of a small fascist party before the war, but was in Venezuela when the Germans invaded. Schelte saw it as a reason to return”.
He then joined the SS, “fought on the Russian front for the Wehrmacht, but was recalled to be part of the ‘East Company, ’ working for the SS in the occupied East.”
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, writes John Donovan, whose website, royaldutchshellplc.com, has been campaigning relentlessly against the naming.
Seeing that the war was going “badly for Germany, he joined a resistance party, then went to Switzerland. He was interned after the war, tried and I think the judges found him one of their own – a good businessman, well educated.”
Among Schelte’s more memorable statements was his view that “the German race is model. The Jewish race, by comparison, is parasitic … Therefore the Jewish question must be resolved in every Aryan country.”
Well, he tried.
So, according to the company’s press release, the Pieter Schelte arrived at Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, at the beginning of January, and will remain at the port for installation and testing of its main mission equipment before commencing operations this summer.
And while it’s there, Europe’s Jews, who have been treated this month to a heap of bloody Muslim attacks, are throwing a righteous fit at this newest outrage.
The vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Arkush, said: “Naming such a ship after an SS officer who was convicted of war crimes is an insult to the millions who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis. We urge the ship’s owners to reconsider and rename the ship after someone more appropriate.”
Esther Voet, director of the Centre for Information and Documentation on Israel (Cidi), based in The Hague, said that the timing of the ship’s arrival, just before the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, was “a coincidence, I’m sure, but a sign of the times. We lost our battle to have the ship’s name changed, and we are left eating dust.”
Voet says: “We’ve fought this for 10 years, tried to persuade everyone involved that this was offensive. But no, we’re left with this fact: the largest ship in the world is named after an officer in the SS, and not enough people are offended to get this changed.”
“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, ” writes John Donovan, adding:
“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.
“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.”
Well, there’s nothing we can do now, other than expect to some day board the good ship Adolf Eichmann …