Scuttling of the Sao Paulo : pollution has a future

4 Feb 2023

They did so at dusk, 349.5 km off the Brazilian coast, on the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone, “in order to avoid any logistical, operational, environmental and economic damage to the Brazilian State”. In its press release, the Brazilian Navy paid tribute to the aircraft carrier and its crews “worthy servants of the French and Brazilian navies”. The export licence for the ex-Foch in 2000 specified that the conditions for dismantling the Sao Paulo aircraft carrier had to be authorised in advance by the French authorities. In a way, France is an accomplice in this disaster decided and assumed by Brazil.

Brazil’s crime is almost perfect. The alibi of the waterway that could have led to the sinking of the Sao Paulo is unverifiable and, in any case, repairs could have been carried out in the port of Suape, Pernambuco State.

In its bulletin “Shipbreaking” # 64 published in November 2021, Robin des Bois anticipated ” a diffuse risk that the former aircraft carrier will be scuttled in the Atlantic and pollute the marine environment in the long term.”
The environmental disaster will occur in two stages:
– The immediate time of the mortality of an abyssal community composed of molluscs, crustaceans, fish, sea cucumbers and a flora adapted to the extreme conditions that prevail at a depth of 5000 m.
– The long, very long time for decomposition and dispersion of toxic substances. The ex-Foch aka Sao Paulo will spread a contaminating plume into the Atlantic Ocean. Lead, arsenic and tin paint flakes, asbestos dusts, hydrocarbon particles, PCBs and mercury will contaminate plankton, fish and whales. The scuttling took place within the perimeter of the South Atlantic whale sanctuary proposed by Brazil for 22 years within the International Whaling Commission to “mitigate identified threats to whale populations and to identify and quantify other potential threats”.
The Sao Paulo‘s residues will contribute to the unhealthiness of the marine environment as far as the Caribbean arc, due to the effect of upward currents. The wrecks of warships and civilian vessels that have been at the bottom of the oceans since the last two World Wars continue to spread poisons on the ocean floor, in the water column and to contaminate marine resources. The NGO Robin des Bois based in France is calling for international cooperation between Latin American and European countries to monitor the slow decay of this underwater mega dump.

See also:

The ex-Foch, twin of the Clemenceau, on her way to the scrapyard in Türkiye, August 25, 2022
What is the future for the Sao Paulo, ex-Foch?, September 2, 2022
The aircraft carrier Sao Paulo is banned in Brazil!, October 7, 2022
The ex-aircraft carrier Foch on her way towards the unknown, January 20, 2023
Update – Aircraft carrier Sao Paulo, ex-Foch, January 21, 2023

See also Fuego!, September 6, 2018 about the scuttling of the former corvette Alfonso Ceirquer off Madeira, Portugal (with video)

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