BILLED as the biggest ship in the world, the massive gantry crane carrier, Pieter Schelte, has arrived in Rotterdam, bringing with it much controversy, including an unsung Nazi heritage.
The ship was also marked by a difference in tonnage readings, at first weighing in at 50,000 tons deadweight, but then reporting a gross tonnage of 75,000 tons.
This stark difference prompted the HK Shipping Gazette to check out Wikipedia, as it had recently learned that a grounded car carrier Hoegh Osaka off Southampton had weighed in at 51,000 gross tons but only 16,880 deadweight.
Wikipedia explained that gross tonnage is the volume a ship's enclosed spaces from keel to funnel expressed as 2.83 cubic metres per gross tonnne.
Deadweight tonnage is the displacement, that is the actual weight of a ship fully loaded, minus its displacement weight when completely empty. Warships are gauged by displacement tonnage.
Satisfied that this accounted for the difference, but then wondering who would enjoy the honour to having the world biggest ship named after him, the Shipping Gazette again searched the Web to learn that the choice had aroused much controversy,
The ship was built by the Swiss company Allseas, and its founder, Edwin Heerema, wanted the world's biggest ship named after his father, Pieter Schelte, a renowned maritime engineer. reported the Daily Telegraph in London.
But the Telegraph also reported that Pieter Schelte was a member of the SS (Schutzstaffel), the private paramilitary of the Nazi party, news of which provoked an outcry from politicians and Jewish groups.
The Port of Rotterdam makes no mention of this in its press release, but says "with a length of 382 metres and a width of 124 metres, this is the biggest ship in the world. It was designed and developed by the Dutch-Swiss offshore company Allseas", said the Rotterdam Port Authority.
The Pieter Schelte will spend the next four months in Rotterdam undergoing final assembly in the inner lake of Maasvlakte 2.
Among other things, 65-metre long support beams will be fitted to the ship. Including this work, the spin-off of the total construction of the vessel for Dutch business is estimated at EUR700 million (US$826.1 million), said the release.
"The arrival of the Pieter Schelte is to strengthen the Rotterdam offshore sector's new port sites in the existing port area and on the Maasvlakte," said port CEO Allard Castelein.
The Maasvlakte provides possibilities on existing sites, on sites still to be developed and the plots of water on Maasvlakte 2 can also be put to good use for the offshore industry, he said.
Source : HKSG.