UK’s RMT demands ban of a vessel named after a senior Nazi

3 February 2015 (Last Updated February 3rd, 2015 18:30)

UK maritime union RMT has demanded that Allseas Group stops using its new vessel for works at three of Shell UK's Brent platforms, as it is named Pieter Schelte after a convicted Nazi war criminal.

UK maritime union RMT has demanded that Allseas Group stops using its new vessel for works at three of Shell UK’s Brent platforms, as it is named Pieter Schelte after a convicted Nazi war criminal.

Brent field is located on the UK continental shelf, 186km north-east of Lerwick, Scotland, at a water depth of 140m, and Shell awarded Allseas the contract for topsides and jacket removal in August 2013.

For the project, Allseas has been using its vessel named after the company owner Edward Heerema’s father, who served as a Waffen SS officer and was imprisoned after the Second World War, RMT stated.

"A union-busting company, using a ship honouring a top German Nazi and flagged out to Panama, stands to rake in a fortune at British taxpayers’ expense."

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "Coming just days after we remembered the liberation of Auschwitz it is sickening that a vessel named after a senior Nazi, jailed for war crimes, is set to be working on a tax-payer funded contract in British waters.

"This scandal must be stopped and RMT will work with our sister union’s and the ITF to bring this outrage to public attention and force it to be called to a halt."

The union also alleged that the vessel operates under ‘a Panamanian flag of convenience, employing socially-dumped foreign labour on pitiful pay and conditions’.

RMT national secretary Steve Todd said: "This shocking news compounds the fact that, with a massive decommissioning programme in place on the offshore UK continental shelf over the next ten to 20 years, out of all the vessels that will be used hardly any of them will have British crews on-board.

"That is an absolute disgrace, which is brought into sharp focus by the revelation that a union-busting company, using a ship honouring a top German Nazi and flagged out to Panama, stands to rake in a fortune at British taxpayers’ expense."

Meanwhile, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has also argued that the vessel’s name should be changed immediately.