Unions don’t want ‘Pieter Schelte’ in UK

  • Exploration & Production

Maritime union RMT has slammed Shell UK’s decision to award to Swiss-based Allseas Group SA the contract for the decommissioning of three of its Brent platforms that are situated on the UK Continental Shelf using its newest vessel, the Pieter Schelte, for the task.

Shell has today said it has begun preparing plans for the decommissioning of the Brent Delta Platform in the UK North sea using the ‘Pieter Schelte’. The Brent Delta platform is one of four platforms located in the Brent oil and gas field.

The company has said that a thirty day public consultation on plans to start scrapping of the Brent field will begin week starting Monday, February 16.

RMT pointed out that there is no place in the UK for “a vessel which is named after a top German Nazi jailed for war crimes at the end of the war.” 

The vessel was named after Pieter Schelte, the late father of the Allseas founder, Edward Heerema. Pieter Schelte served as a Waffen SS officer and was jailed for war crimes at the end of the World War II.

The Maritime Union also said that the vessel operates under a Panamanian flag of convenience, “employing socially-dumped foreign labour on pitiful pay and conditions as well as being 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 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.”

Contract signed in 2013

Worth noting, the decision to award the contract to Allseas is not exactly news, as the deal was signed back in 2013. The Pieter Schelte, the RMT is crying ‘foul’ over, has recently arrived in Rotterdam where it will be outfitted before embarking on its Brent field assignment.

Steve Todd, RMT National Secretary, added: “This shocking news compounds the fact that with a massive decommissioning program in place on the offshore UK continental shelf over the next 10 to 20 years, out of all the vessels that will be used hardly any of them will have British crews on board. Furthermore, we will be lucky if any of the work from the decommissioning benefits anywhere in the UK or any of the UK workforce and yet it is UK taxpayers money that will fund the programme.”

“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.”

Offshore Energy Today sent e-mails to Allseas and Shell, seeking comment on the accusations by RMT, but did not receive a response at the time of the writing of this article.

Pieter Schelte

The Brent contract is the first to be awarded to Allseas for Pieter Schelte. The dynamically positioned single-lift installation/decommissioning and pipelay vessel, built by Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering (DSME) in Okpo, Korea has been described as the largest vessel of its kind in the world. Pieter Schelte, with a length of 382 m and width of 124 m, has topsides lift capacity of 48,000 t and a jacket lift capacity of 25,000 t.

Offshore Energy Today Staff

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