The command of the Naval Forces (Navy) of Brazil decided to sink its only aircraft carrier, the Sao Paulo, which was previously decommissioned and subject to dismantling.
According to the press service of the Ministry of Defense of the country, it was originally planned that the ship would be sold for scrap to the Turkish company Sok.
However, the deal fell through due to the fact that there were too many harmful substances in the ship's hull. Because of this, the Turkish Environmental Protection Agency blocked the deal.
As follows from the report of the department, at least 600 tons of asbestos was found in the ship's hull, which was originally used for fire safety and sound protection. Also, during the construction of the aircraft carrier, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used, which are now recognized as carcinogens.
In this regard, in September 2022, the Turkish authorities unilaterally refused to import and dismantle the aircraft carrier. But mooring the ship back to Brazil was also prohibited.
In such a situation, the command of the Brazilian Navy decided to tow the decommissioned aircraft carrier into the waters of the Atlantic Ocean and sink it 350 km from the coast of Brazil at a depth of about 5 km.
The Ministry of Defense assured that the sinking of the aircraft carrier at this point would not harm the environment, submarine cables or shipping lanes.
Sao Paulo was produced in France in 1960 and served in the French Navy until 2000, when Brazil acquired it. There is evidence that this aircraft carrier actively participated in France's atmospheric nuclear tests in the Pacific Ocean.
Therefore, some environmentalists fear that the São Paulo hull may still pose a radioactive threat.