AMSTERDAM, Netherlands, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Jewish groups are condemning plans to name a huge new ship after Pieter Schelte Heerema, a Dutch member of the Nazi Waffen SS.
The $1.7 billion ship, to be used for laying pipe and decommissioning North Sea oil rigs, will be the world's largest ship in area at 1,253 feet in length and 384 feet in width, said its Swiss owner, Allseas Group SA.
Edwin Heerema, founder of Allseas, intends to name the ship after his father, a renowned maritime engineer who was prominent among Dutch collaborators with the Nazis, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.
"For people who know his pitch-black history, this ship should not be named for him. Not now, not ever," said Ronny Naftaniel, director of CIDI, which monitors anti-Semitism in the Netherlands.
Officials for the Dutch government, which gave Allseas a $1 million tax break for the ship, have acknowledged they did not notice the name until a Dutch journalist raised the issue, the British newspaper reported.
Jeroen Hagelstein, an Allseas spokesman, has rejected the criticism, saying Heerema's father switched sides and joined the resistance in 1943 because he grew to abhor the "ideas of the Nazis."