Letter Hessel Halbesma Chairman of the Board

Amsterdam 22 March 2018

In order to mitigate against further repercussion against the company and to diffuse the misinformation that is circulating currently, I wish to offer my resignation forthwith as Chairman of the Board of Oceanteam.
As Chairman I have led the company to this moment in time. I have decided to retire and create room for a new Chairman to be appointed that is capable of directing the company into the future and develop it to its full potential.

Today, Oceanteam is in excellent health and ready for the upcoming markets, with the needed stabilisation of the Offshore Sector the company has adjusted to the new realities that are now facing all operators and suppliers. Added to that, we are in a prime position to capitilise on the booming renewables market as well as reliving offshore market.
We have extensively streamlined, and are well-financed; comprehensively resourced, with an excellent and experienced MT team; 'lean and mean' and are ready to scale up to capture any and all opportunities now emerging on the horizon of a regenerated market.
Despite those constructive efforts Oceanteam has been under public pressure and unnecessary investigations due to various uncontrolled counter forces i.e.

1. , the revolt amongst the shareholders that was initiated after the presentation of the annual accounts for 2016 was stimulated by a misguided and misinformed ‘point of attention’ into ‘related third party activities’.
During that shareholders meeting misinformation was perpetuated by the ex-CFO – Mr Skulstad – and minor shareholder Mr Nymo, claimed that the ‘Halbesma’s were effectively skimming-off money’ from the company, demanding that be evidence for disqualification, this was despite the denials of the KPMG representative present.

2. ​These actions were further fueled by the misreporting of journalist Ms Grieg (Dagens Naeringslive), whose sensationalistic journalism, in order to sell newspapers, developed into a witch hunt with no allowance to enable a balanced reply and redress to the false claims being made.  Further, despite making available information and answers to the same journalist, none of the corrections were acknowledged or published; they were ignored. 

Subsequently, among others the above mentioned has led the sitting management and the Board into a climate of mistrust from all quarters. And by doing so, caused grievous loss in value, and loss of potential clients and contracts; effectively, the actions of a few (with their own agenda) have caused indisputable substantial damage to the company as a whole.

This situation has been further exacerbated by the uncertainty that this mischievousness has created in the supporting institutions, such as banks and auditors (and some clients) who have adopted 'caution' in note of the false claims being made.
It has resulted into the fact that the company is now in a 'cash trap' situation whereby funds are blocked by the banks into Oceanteam's ship-owning entities. As a consequence, the banks at this time do not permit dividend payments to be made to the mother company Oceanteam ASA.
We are however in dialogue with our banks in order to gain access to the funds in these subsidiaries, as well as taking pro-active measures by identifying and accessing liquidity within the company itself.
In our actions to attempt to redress the balance, we initiated a thorough forensic investigation as well. The report due to be published reveals that:

  • Mr Lex van Doorn (former MD Oceanteam Solutions) has undertaken a ‘sophisticated procurement fraud’ for many millions of euro’s during the period 2013 to 2016.
  • That company procedures and internal controls within Oceanteam, under the direct responsibility of our CFO at that time, had been blatantly disregarded.
  • Mr Skulstad was the CFO for Oceanteam in this period with his family on an excellent remuneration package.
  • As CFO, he was ultimately culpable to ensure all that all the financial aspects of the company were transparent and indisputable.
  • His role was to ensure that all procedures were followed absolutely. 

From the above facts, it is possible to conclude that: -
By feigning ignorance of the fraudulent activities despite being ultimately responsible for all financial regulation, Mr. Skulstad has colluded and connived to enable Mr. van Doorn to perpetuate a massive procurement fraud.
Further, it is clear that Mr. Skulstad has been the instigator of the persistent and malevolent flow of misinformation, with one main objective, to bankrupt the company and to cover his tracks.
This has all been perpetuated with complete disregard for the livelihoods of the many people employed, and by that effect their families, and the other associated stakeholders.
This has been an extremely difficult time for all of those concerned, and has been added to by those that have chosen to make mileage out of this unfortunate situation, by exploiting this to their own advantage by repeating the accusations in other forum.
The CEO, the Board and I as the chairman, have done all that we possibly can to bring the company to its present sound and healthy situation despite the indisputable damage that has been caused by the few, however, to allow Oceanteam to grow and evolve without slur or mistrust.
We have identified the most critical forces that have been trying to undermine this beautiful company. As said, I now create room for a new leadership that will be able to draft the future of Oceanteam.
I understand that I best serve all of the stakeholders by relinquishing my position on the Board of the company; a company that I have made a deep financial and emotional investment in maintaining.
With this in mind, I now offer my resignation as chairman of the Board of Oceanteam with immediate effect. However, where needed, I offer to remain available in the role of ‘close advisor’ until the end of 2018 in order to enable a smooth and viable transition for all concerned.
Yours sincerely,
Hessel Halbesma