The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office appealed to the Federal Regional Court of the 5th Region, this Thursday (2), against the decision of the first instance of the Federal Court in Pernambuco that denied a request for an injunction to prevent the hull of the aircraft carrier São Paulo from being sunk in Brazilian waters.
The Navy decided to discard the hull on the Brazilian coast, as shown by the Sheet this Wednesday (1st), even after a Saudi group offered BRL 30 million for the equipment.
In the appeal, the Attorney’s Office asks the TRF-5 to, in addition to changing the Court’s decision, order the Navy to immediately suspend any service aimed at sinking the vessel, on the high seas or near the coast, without the presentation of studies that prove the absence of environmental risk.
The MPF also wants the Court to determine the imposition of a fine in case of non-compliance.
The body argues that “a technical note from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) points to the risk of serious environmental damage in the event of a possible sinking, especially taking into account that the hull is damaged, according to inspections carried out by guidance from the Navy”.
The vessel’s scrap currently contains 9 tons of asbestos, a substance with toxic and carcinogenic potential, in addition to 644 tons of paint and other hazardous materials, according to the MPF. The use of asbestos has been prohibited in Brazil since 2017, following a decision by the Federal Supreme Court.
The aircraft carrier São Paulo is 266 meters long. Its armament consisted of three twin missile launchers and heavy-caliber machine guns. Asbestos was used as a thermal and acoustic insulator, to reduce aircraft take-off noise for the crew.
Upon confirming the decision to sink, the Ministry of Defense said that, given the “deterioration of buoyancy conditions” and the “inevitability of spontaneous sinking”, it would not be possible to adopt any other course “than jettisoning the hull”.
In the appeal, the Attorney General’s Office alleges that “the judicial decision handed down in the first degree does not present technical-scientific evidence that the sinking of other ships built until 2011 (the case of the aircraft carrier São Paulo), also with a large amount of asbestos, did not have compromised the environment”. The MPF also argues that “ignorance of the extent of the damage to the environmental heritage is a circumstance that imposes the adoption of the precautionary measure, and not the opposite”.
The action was motivated by the news that the sinking of the vessel was scheduled for Wednesday (1st), which ended up not happening so far. The objective of the MPF, as stated in the process, is to prevent the sinking from causing “irreparable damage to the marine environment, the public health of the population and irreversible health consequences”.
In the action, the MPF also requests that the Ministry of Defense promote technical studies for the proper disposal of the hull, through disposal, without risks to the environment and public health, or by selling the former ship to a company with conditions to carry out the repairs necessary for safe disposal.
The Saudi group’s proposal for the case was made last Monday (30), after the Sheet reveal that the Navy planned to sink the vessel in view of the advanced degree of degradation of the old airfield.
The Saudis had offered a value three times higher than that made by the Turkish shipyard Sök Denizcilik and Ticaret Limited. The company even signed the acquisition contract with the Navy, but decided to return the aircraft carrier after Turkey vetoed the vessel’s entry into its territory.
This Wednesday (1st), the Ministry of Defense, the Navy and the AGU (Advocacy General of the Union) issued a joint note to inform that the hull tow train “was directed to the most distant maritime area, within the Jurisdicionais Brasileiras (AJB), 350 km from the Brazilian coast and with a depth of approximately 5,000 meters”.
Unused for decades, the ship was dismantled in France. In the 1990s, it went through a process that removed 55 tons of the toxic product.
The aircraft carrier was sold by the Navy to a Turkish shipyard specializing in ship dismantling. The vehicle left Brazil on August 4, on a trip that generated protests around the world and was monitored in real time by Greenpeace.
The Navy says that, after the decision to demobilize the aircraft carrier, it opted to sell the hull for “green dismantling”, a safe recycling process for which the Turkish shipyard Sök is accredited and certified.
But, in the face of complaints about the illegal export of asbestos, the Turkish government revoked authorization for the vessel to enter on August 26, when the ship was approaching the Strait of Gilbraltar, on a trip made with the help of a tugboat.
Analyzes carried out by the NGO Shipbreaking on a twin aircraft carrier to the São Paulo identified 760 tons of asbestos on the vessel. In view of this, the organization began to question whether, in fact, the hull sent by Brazil would have the 10 tons of toxic substance as foreseen in the inventory.
Ibama (Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) suspended the export license and ordered the ship to return to Brazil.
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