Brazilian navy says ‘ghost’ aircraft carrier sinks at sea

(Reuters) — A decommissioned aircraft carrier from the 1960s that has been floating on the high seas for three months will be sunk in the Atlantic Ocean in waters under Brazilian jurisdiction after Turkey refused permission to remove it, the Brazilian navy said on Wednesday.

The 32,000-tonne aircraft carrier Sao Paulo was towed to Europe by a tugboat but was turned back across the Atlantic after Turkey decided it posed an environmental risk after failing to cross the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Brazilian Navy said in a statement that the ship was taking on water and was in danger of sinking, so it was not allowed to dock at Brazilian ports.

Despite Environment Minister Marina Silva’s request not to scuttle the carrier, the navy said it had no choice but to scuttle the vessel 350 kilometers (217 miles) offshore at a depth of about 5,000 meters (16,400 feet). Exclusive Economic Zone of Brazil.

The site is far from environmental protection areas and lacks undersea communication cables, a Navy report said.

“Given her deteriorating buoyancy and the inevitability of uncontrolled sinking, there was no alternative but to dispose of the hull and proceed with a planned sinking,” he said.

The Navy had planned to scuttle the carrier at sea on Wednesday, but lawyers sought to stop the sinking in Brazilian waters, citing environmental threats, including tons of asbestos used for paneling inside the ship.

On Wednesday afternoon, a federal judge denied his request for a ban, arguing that the Navy had weighed the environmental impact against other factors.

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The Klemenschev-class aircraft carrier served the French Navy from 1963 to 2000 under the name Foch, and was capable of carrying 40 aircraft.

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