CHAPTER 2: News story in February 2015: Shell ship named after a Nazi SS Officer

The above screenshot is from an article published by the Financial Times on 5 February 2015.

Extract from the article: “Royal Dutch Shell is facing a storm of criticism after deciding to proceed with plans to bring a ship named after a Nazi war criminal into UK waters to decommission the Brent oilfield…”

In January 2015, The Observer newspaper published a major article by its then chief correspondent Ed Vulliamy under the headline:

“Jewish outrage as world’s largest ship, named after SS war criminal, arrives in Europe”.

The article contained a reference to my then pending book “Sir Henri Deterding and the Nazi History of Royal Dutch Shell,” which is the main source for the content of this website.

The Observer article reported that: “Leaders of Jewish communities and Holocaust memorial groups in Britain and the Netherlands have reacted with rage and despair at the arrival in Rotterdam of the world’s biggest ship, the Pieter Schelte, named after a Dutch officer in the Waffen-SS.”

The owner of the ship, Mr. Edward Heerema, founder of the Allseas Shipping Group, named his new vessel after his father, a pioneer of the offshore oil industry, Pieter Schelte Heerema. In World War 2, he was an officer in the German Waffen-SS.

The Ed Vulliamy article quoted from a petition I launched online asking Edward Heerema to rename the ship.

Guardian Online published his article on Saturday 24 January 2015 and it appeared in The Observer newspaper the following day.

Extracts: Cidi cited a petition organised by a British-based website monitoring the affairs of Royal Dutch Shell, the energy group, which trumpeted the ship’s arrival in Rotterdam and which Allseas confirms in a press release to be among its early clients. The site,, is run by John Donovan, a former Shell contractor who is completing a book on the history of the company’s relations with the Third Reich. His petition reads: “Please change the ship’s name so that it no longer sails under the name of a former Waffen-SS officer jailed for war crimes.” Donovan told the Observer: “This public homage by Edward Heerema as the wealthy son of a Nazi war criminal is an affront to the relatives of tens of millions of souls who perished at the hands of Nazi Germany. The name is unacceptable.”

Shell was aware of the intent to name the giant Allseas vessel after a Nazi war criminal but still went ahead with its plans to become one of the first clients to use the ship.

The astonishing story was also covered by Mail Online and many other publishers around the world, including the Dutch equivalent to the Financial Times, a Middle East focused website and Jewish publications, such as the Jewish Business News and The Jewish Chronicle.

More information about Pieter Schelte Heerema can be found in articles I have published, including one by a Dutch investigative journalist, Ton Biesemaat, and my own main article.

When Shell announced its plans to use the Nazi named ship for decommissioning North Sea oil platforms, UK maritime unions, after becoming aware of my petition, took a very hostile attitude to the news.

Initially, Shell had insisted it was an issue for Allseas alone. However, when the negative publicity continued to build day-by-day, Shell eventually put pressure on Allseas to change the name.

The then UK coalition government, after initially declining to get involved, also responded to the growing firestorm of criticism and put their weight behind the objections to the Nazi name.

On Friday 6 February 2015, Allseas reversed course and announced that it would change the name of the ship, thereby doing exactly as I had requested in my petition published on It is now called Pioneering Spirit.

Why did Shell not intervene years earlier after I first published an article mentioning the subject?

The first news article about the Nazis name controversy was published in July 2008: “Dutch outcry over naming giant ship after Nazi.”

Shell, therefore, had plenty of advanced warning, yet still hired the Nazis named ship.


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This entry was posted in Allseas, Ed Vulliamy, Germany, Jewish, John Donovan, Oil, Pieter Schelte, Pieter Schelte Heerema, Royal Dutch Shell Group,, Shell, Sir Henri Deterding, Sir Henri Deterding and the Nazi History Royal Dutch Shell, Swastika flag, The Holocaust, The Nazi Party, The Nazis, Waffen-SS and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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