Last Friday (03), the hull of the aircraft carrier São Paulo was sunk about 300km off the coast of Pernambuco, where the vessel sailed in circles for months. This after the ban on docking given by Organs environmental agencies because of the risk of an environmental accident. Despite indications that the hull was contaminated with almost 10 tons of asbestos and other toxic substances and radioactive waste, the navy decided that sinking it would be the best alternative.
Lawyer Luísa Duque works at Forum Suape, an NGO that defends the territorial and socio-environmental rights of residents living in the vicinity of the Port of Suape, the last port to reject the ship’s docking. “It’s as if in Brazil the environmental legislation is looser than in other places, it’s as if everything is allowed here. And then what we see as a result is another blow to the environment. Another possible blow to artisanal fishing communities, to the population in general, because the issue is that we have no idea of the magnitude of this damage, because adequate environmental impact studies were not carried out”, analyzed the lawyer
The French ship, acquired by the Brazilian Navy in 2001, was tendered to the Turkish company Sok to be dismantled in Turkey, but never docked in the country. She was rejected by the Turkish government and other nations for a Greenpeace Mediterranean complaint about toxic and radioactive substances in her hull.
Leia: After a year, oil spill on the northeastern coast remains unanswered
The place where the ship was sunk, about 300 kilometers off the coast of Pernambuco, is a region that has not yet recovered from the oil spill that hit this and other Northeastern states in 2019. Because of this, activists are concerned about the possible impacts.
Laís Araújo is an environmental activist who works at the NGO Xô, Plastico! which works by removing objects thrown into the environment. “I was shocked because it reminds me a lot of the oil era, when we used to talk about the impacts, but we can’t exactly measure them. We know that the marine fauna and flora and the marine ecosystem will suffer from this, causing the death of species; in addition to asbestos itself, which can greatly harm biodiversity”, she analyzes.
The activist also criticizes the fact that the ocean is treated as a dump in cases like this, since the sinking does not solve the problem. “I was quite disgusted with the outcome of this aircraft carrier, because we saw that – in the face of so many alternatives that the Navy had to give the correct destination, such as recycling these parts – they preferred to neglect the importance of the ocean and more once to do what unfortunately many companies and people have been doing: consider the ocean a big dump”, he highlights.
For the lawyer Luisa Duque, it is not possible to measure the impact because it is not known for sure all the substances present in the hull. Since, despite this having been requested by the Public Defender’s Office, there was only the analysis carried out by the company at the time of the bidding process.
“We don’t even know how much asbestos there is on that ship. A survey of nine tons was not carried out, but, in fact, it was the company itself that carried out this survey and said that it was by sampling, which only managed to verify 12% of the hull”, says Luisa..
The lawyer also claims that the ship should have been banned from circulating in Brazil. “The very movement of this ship loaded with this substance violates some international treaties that Brazil is a signatory to, such as the Treaty of Basel, which would not even allow the circulation of this type of material in the oceans”, she denounces.
The Attorney General’s Office, the Ministry of Defense and the Brazilian Navy made a joint note to pronounce on the subject, in which the bodies claim that the hull of the aircraft carrier was very deteriorated and would end up sinking spontaneously, which could interdict port access channel. Therefore, the decision was made to scuttle the ship in a controlled manner.
According to the bodies, the area for the operation was chosen based on a study by the navy hydrography center, and took into account the following parameters: location within the exclusive economic zone of Brazil and outside the environmental protection area; area free of submarine cables and projects on water, such as wind farms; and deeper than 3 thousand meters.
Leia: Senate report calls for help for fishermen affected by oil slick in 2019
Source: BdF Pernambuco
Editing: Vanessa Gonzaga
Leave a Reply