The Sao Paulo, ex-Foch, former flagship of the French Navy. DR
Renamed ‘São Paulo’ after its sale to Brazil in 2000, the former flagship of the French Navy with its toxic structure should end its life in a dismantling site in Turkey. Except that his crossing of the Atlantic and the Strait of Gibraltar, deemed illegal, faces an outcry from environmental defense NGOs who are calling on transit countries, including Morocco, to refuse him passage.
Various environmental NGOs have sounded the alarm over the former Brazilian aircraft carrier Sao Paulocurrently being towed across the Atlantic to Turkey in defiance of international and Brazilian law.
The Sao Pauloformerly known as the French Navy building Fochsister ship of the French aircraft carrier Clemenceau left Brazil on August 4, towed by the Dutch tug Alp Center for a 6,000 nautical mile voyage to Aliaga, Turkey, where she is destined to be scrapped.
After 37 years spent in the French Navy, the aircraft carrier Foch’ named after the Marshal of France, was sold on November 15, 2000 in Brazil for 12 million dollars. But after 18 years of fruitless repairs which cost nearly 100 million euros, she was finally laid up by the Marinha do Brasil and sold to a Turkish shipowner for 1.6 million dollars at auction, in order to recover her 24 000 tons of steel. 265 meters long, weighing more than 24,000 tons empty, able to sail at 32.2 knots, the giant of the seas had to escape dismantling, a German businessman planned to transform it into a gigantic luxury hotel project. A project that ultimately fell through due to lack of funding.
The vessel, whose accident and damage insurance expired in May 2022, is sailing today in defiance of an injunction from Brazil’s Federal District Court and, according to activist groups, was exported in violation of the Convention of Basel on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal, as well as the Barcelona Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean. It also goes against the wishes of local communities in Turkey, who view the imminent arrival and dismantling of this old ship laden with asbestos and carcinogens as an unacceptable toxic threat.
According to its towing plan, the Sao Paulo will pass through the Strait of Gibraltar and therefore through the territorial waters of Morocco, Spain and the United Kingdom, which should be notified of this transit and give their consent. These countries are therefore called upon to refuse the passage of this ship qualified as ” dangerous “.