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Brazilian 'ghost' aircraft carrier gets a reprieve

February 1, 2023 at 7:01 pm

A military ship takes part in a Navy military ceremony to mark the country’s 200th anniversary of independence, in Rio de Janeiro [ANDRE BORGES/AFP via Getty Images]

A decommissioned 32,000-ton 1960’s aircraft carrier has been floating off Brazil’s shore for three months since Turkiye refused it entry to be scrapped there because the rusting ship is an environmental hazard, Reuters reports.

The Brazilian Navy’s Sao Paulo carrier had been towed by tugs to Europe, but did not get past the Gibraltar Straits, and was returned across the Atlantic.

The Navy has acknowledged the ship is a risk to the environment and could sink, so it has not been allowed into Brazilian ports.

But plans to scuttle the carrier on Wednesday at high sea in Brazilian waters were blocked by public prosecutors citing the environmental threat it poses, including asbestos used for panelling in the ship.

Environment Minister, Marina Silva, has met with Defence Minister, Jose Mucio, to stop the sinking of the ship, her spokesperson said.

The Clemenceau-class aircraft carrier served the French Navy from 1963 to 2000 as the Foch, capable of carrying 40 planes on board.

The Navy did not respond to requests for comment.

Brazilian media report that a Saudi Arabian company called Sela Trading Holding Company has offered to buy the abandoned carrier for 30 million reais ($6 million). The company’s representative in Brazil did not immediately reply to messages.

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