World’s biggest ship named after Nazi arrived in Rotterdam
On 8 January a crowd watched world’s biggest and most expensive vessel ever built, the Pieter Schelte, float into the Port of Rotterdam. The ship was named after Pieter Schelte Heerema, founder of the Swiss-based Allseas group and a maritime engineer, but also a member of the Nazi Waffen SS, convicted and sent to prison for three years for his crimes against humanity in WWII.
The ship is owned by Schelte’s son, Dutch businessman Edward Heerema who has received much flack and petitions from Jewish groups and others to change its name. The Dutch government had given Allseas’ Netherlands subsidiary a $1 million tax break for its part in designing the ship, adding to the ship’s controversial nature. “While Mr Heerema’s father had been recognised by the courts as providing “very important” services to the resistance, he was earlier a “prominent” figure among Dutch collaborators with the Nazis,” according to the Netherlands Governmental Institute for War Documentation.
Edward Heerema distances himself from his father’s past, stating that the ship was named after “the offshore pioneer that he was”. Read more about this huge vessel and see more pictures.