Brazilian government confirms it will sink former aircraft carrier São Paulo

Joint statement from the Ministry of Defence, the Brazilian Navy and the Attorney General’s Office, the vessel’s hull will undergo a planned and controlled sinking in a location 350 km from the Brazilian coast

The Brazilian government confirmed, through a joint statement from the Ministry of Defence, the Brazilian Navy and the Attorney General’s Office, the decision to sink the former aircraft carrier São Paulo (FS Foch of the French Navy), despite protests from environmental organizations.

The hull of the vessel will sink in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Brazil, outside the area of environmental protection and free of interference such as submarine cables or projects foreseen over water.

The exact location was not revealed, but it would be around 5,000 meters deep and 350 km from the Brazilian coast, where the ship was taken on January 20 by the Brazilian Navy ship “Purus”.

The Brazilian government tried to justify the decision by blaming the Turkish shipyard SÖK Denizcilik for the vessel’s unrecoverable situation.

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According to the authorities, the Navy and the Brazilian environmental protection agency (IBAMA) tried to carry out an environmentally sustainable dismantling of the ship.

But after the Turkish government suspended the authorization for the former “Sao Paulo” to enter its territorial waters, it had to determine the return of the hull to Brazil.

The Navy also says that it carried out an inspection of the aircraft carrier’s hull to verify its integrity and the conditions of buoyancy and stability.

In view of the damages found, the Brazilian Maritime Authority (AMB) determined that SÖK maintain insurance for the hull as well as the presentation of a contract for mooring and repair of the vessel.

The aircraft carrier Sao Paulo docked in Rio de Janeiro, where it stayed for much of his career in Brazil (Alexandre Galante)

“Planned and controlled sinking”

AMB also says that it presented the shipyard with a list of companies and ports where repairs could be carried out, but that it could not interfere in private negotiations.

“Faced with the owner’s inertia in meeting the requirements determined by the AMB and the imminent possibility of abandoning the hull at sea, the AMB carried out a new expert inspection of the hull, in which a severe degradation of the conditions of buoyancy and stability was verified”, says the communicated.

Finally, the Ministry of Defense considered that the hull will end up sinking given the precarious situation it is in and that “it is not possible to adopt another conduct other than jettisoning the hull, through planned and controlled sinking”.

The government, however, did not reveal when the controlled sinking procedure of the former aircraft carrier will take place, but stated that it will take all appropriate extrajudicial and judicial measures to ensure the outcome of the case.