Ship christened after convicted Nazi to be renamed

The Pieter Schelte ship which was named after shipping company's father and former SS officer Credit: PA

A giant ship christened after a Nazi convicted of war crimes will be renamed after "widespread reactions".

The Pieter Schelte, which launched in 2013, was named after the Dutch father of Edward Heerema, founder of the ship's operator Allseas Group.

But Jewish groups in Britain and the Netherlands had called for a change claiming it was a grim reminder of his role as a Nazi Waffen SS officer during the Second World War.

"Wonderful, wonderful news. You've made my day," said Esther Voet of Dutch Jewish group CIDI when she was told of the name change.

Schelte Heerema was a pioneer in maritime engineering who helped open oil exploration in the North Sea.

In the early part of the Second World War, he was a director of a company in the Netherlands that rounded up labourers - some volunteers, others conscripted - for the Nazi war effort.

But in 1943 he switched sides and worked for the Resistance.

He was sentenced to three years for war crimes but was released after serving one year and two months in prison after Dutch courts recognised his "very important" services to the Resistance.

A new name for the 1,250ft ship has not been announced.