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Brazil Proceeds with Sinking Aircraft Carrier Despite Protests

The Brazilian Navy confirmed that it plans to move forward with a controlled sinking of the decommissioned aircraft carrier NAe São Paulo in Brazilian waters. While they will not disclose the exact timing or location it is expected that they will move forward expeditiously after warning that the vessel was at severe risk of losing stability and buoyancy and after clearing a last-minute hurdle when a court refused a possible injunction to halt the sinking. All of this is happening as a war of words is also taking place between the Turkish scrappers and the Brazilian authorities.

The Navy issued an official joint statement with the country’s Attorney General and Ministry of Defense saying that due to the severe degradation of the hull that repairs would be impossible and that the sinking is inevitable. Their efforts the Navy insists are to prevent an uncontrolled sinking of the country’s former flagship which was decommissioned in 2018.

The position for the sinking was selected because it remains within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Brazil but is outside any environmentally protected areas and is free from documented submarine cables and will not interfere with projects such as wind farms. The Navy previously moved the hulk to a position more than 215 miles off the coast where the ocean depth is more than 16,400 feet.

“In view of the facts presented and the growing risk involved in the towing task, due to the deterioration of the hull’s buoyancy conditions and the inevitability of spontaneous/uncontrolled sinking, it is not possible to adopt any other course of action other than jettisoning the hull, through the planned and controlled sinking,” they wrote in the joint statement.

Brazil’s Environment Minister Marina Silva requested that the Navy consider other plans while the Brazilian Institute of the Environment (Ibama) has written of the risk of serious environmental damage. They have advocated for the vessel to be docked and repaired as well as to address the concerns about pollutants aboard so that the original plan for green recycling could proceed.


(Video from November 2022 showing the condition of the tow off the coast of Brazil)

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