Brazil will sink ‘ghost aircraft carriers’

Brazil announced it will sink the border-class aircraft carrier Sao Paulo, after it was not allowed to dock in Europe because of concerns about environmental pollution.

Brazil’s navy announced today that it plans to sink the aircraft carrier Sao Paulo in waters 5,000 meters deep, located in the exclusive economic zone about 350 kilometers from the country’s mainland, despite objections from Environment Minister Marina Silva .

“After considering the continuously deteriorating condition of the ship and the increasing risk of uncontrolled sinking, we have concluded that there is no solution other than to actively sink this aircraft carrier. far from areas that need environmental protection and there are no submarine cables under the sea,” the statement of the Brazilian navy read.

The aircraft carrier Sao Paulo was decommissioned in 2017 and was towed to Turkey for scrapping last year, but was denied entry after the country’s authorities assessed it as an environmental hazard. Sao Paulo is also not allowed to enter the Brazilian port because it is constantly flooded and faces the risk of sinking, leaving it floating in the Atlantic Ocean for the past three months and is likened to a “ghost aircraft carrier”.

The aircraft carrier Sao Paulo was towed to Europe in August 2022.  Photo: Shipspotting.

The aircraft carrier Sao Paulo was towed to Europe in August 2022. Photo: Shipspotting.

Sao Paulo is the second of the Clemenceau class of aircraft carriers, commissioned by the French Navy in the period 1963-2000 as Foch. Brazil bought the battleship Foch at the end of 2000 for $ 12 million, becoming the third country in the world to operate an aircraft carrier using catapult and cable braking (CATOBAR), next to the US and France.

The decision to buy the aircraft carrier Sao Paulo is part of an effort to improve the combat capabilities of the Brazilian navy since 1980, with the goal of owning a fleet of jet-wing fighters operating on aircraft carriers. However, many military experts say that Brazil’s move to buy an aircraft carrier is more ostentatious than military use.

Sao Paulo failed to meet expectations and was considered one of the most disappointing aircraft carriers in the world, when constantly lying in the maintenance workshop.

The process of upgrading and equipping with many new combat systems took place in the period 2005-2010, costing about 19 million USD of Brazil’s defense budget. Sao Paulo then went on sea trials and was scheduled to return to service in 2013. However, a serious fire in 2012 delayed this plan, and the Brazilian aircraft carrier continued to return to the factory for an upgrade. During her nearly 20 years of service with the Brazilian navy, she was out at sea for a total of 206 days.

Vu Anh (Theo Reuters)

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