Brazil has sunk a decommissioned aircraft carrier despite environmental groups claiming the former French ship was filled with toxic materials. The “planned and controlled” sinking occurred late Friday afternoon, 350km off the Brazilian coast in the Atlantic Ocean, in an area with a depth of approximately 5,000 meters (16,000 feet), the navy said in a statement. . The decision to sink the San Paolo, built over 60 years ago, came after the Brazilian authorities had tried in vain to find a port willing to welcome it.
The complaint of environmentalists
Although defense officials said they would scuttle the ship in the “safer area,” environmentalists criticized the decision, saying the aircraft carrier contained tons of asbestos, heavy metals and other toxic materials that could pollute the marine food chain. Yesterday, the environmental group Basel Action Network released a joint statement with Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd, accusing Brazil of violating “three international treaties” on the environment by sinking the ship, which according to the NGOs could cause “incalculable” damage to marine life and to coastal communities.
The Brazilian authorities claim choice
Other “environmentally responsible measures could have been taken, but once again the importance of protecting the oceans, vital to the life of the planet, has been overlooked,” said Leandro Ramos, director of programs at Greenpeace Brazil. Brazilian authorities insisted that it was better to scuttle the vessel on purpose than to let it sink of its own accord.