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Brazil just sank its biggest warship into the Atlantic Ocean after failing to sell it for scrap metal. The ship was big enough to carry 39 aircraft — take a look.


Aerial view of the French aircraft carrier "Foch", off the Italian coast, in the Adriatic Sea, 20 May 1999.Aerial view of the French aircraft carrier “Foch”, off the Italian coast, in the Adriatic Sea, 20 May 1999.

THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

  • The Sao Paolo was once the largest warship in the Brazilian Navy. 
  • On February 4, Brazil sank the ship into the Atlantic Ocean after failing to sell it for scrap.
  • Built in the 1950s, the French-made ship is contaminated with asbestos, making it toxic.
The Sao Paolo was once the Brazilian Navy’s flagship warship. But as of February 4, it’s one of the biggest pieces of garbage in the ocean.Five of 12 Super Etandard fighter bombers carried aboard the French aircraft carrier Foch are silhouetted against the morning sun as the Foch makes its way out of Cape Town harbour on its way to Rio de Janeiro 27 March 2000.Five of 12 Super Etandard fighter bombers carried aboard the French aircraft carrier Foch are silhouetted against the morning sun as the Foch makes its way out of Cape Town harbour on its way to Rio de Janeiro 27 March 2000.

ANNA ZIEMINSKI/AFP via Getty Images

In March 2021, the Brazilian Navy sold the aircraft carrier as scrap to a shipyard in Turkey. But the ship was rejected by Turkish authorities as it had asbestos, a toxic material often found in 20th century ships.

After circling along Brazil’s coast for five months after it was rejected by Turkey, the warship was moved into international waters, Time reported.

On February 4, the Brazilian Navy sank the ship in the Atlantic Ocean about 217 miles off the coast of Brazil, per a press release from the Navy.

It was a controversial move: Several environmental rights organizations opposed the sinking of the ship because of the asbestos it contained. 

“The sinking of the aircraft carrier Sao Paulo throws tons of asbestos, mercury, lead and other highly toxic substances into the seabed,” Greenpeace said in a statement, per Reuters.

The Sao Paolo was the largest warship in the Brazilian Navy’s fleet.Super Etendard fighter planes are parked in the hull of French aircraft carrier "Foch" off the Italian coast, in the Adriatic Sea, 20 May 1999.Super Etendard fighter planes are parked in the hull of French aircraft carrier “Foch” off the Italian coast, in the Adriatic Sea, 20 May 1999.

THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

The warship had a full load displacement of 32,800 tonnes. That made it the biggest ship in Brazil’s Navy, but still small compared to other modern-day aircraft carriers. For comparison, the USS Gerald R Ford, the largest aircraft carrier in the world, has a displacement of 100,000 tonnes.

In total, the air carrier measured around 870 feet in length, per Global Security, an independent nonprofit that focuses on security research. The warship’s hangar deck (pictured above), where planes are stowed, measured 499 feet by 79 feet, per Global Security.

The Sao Paolo was the last surviving ship of the Clemenceau-class aircraft carriers, which were the first aircraft carriers France built after World War II.The Aircraft Carrier Foch During The 50th Anniversary Of The Provence Landings, August 14, 1994.The Aircraft Carrier Foch During The 50th Anniversary Of The Provence Landings, August 14, 1994.

Patrick AVENTURIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

The Clemenceau class was named after Georges Clemenceau, the former two-time prime minister of France. The first ship of the class — named Clemenceau — was dismantled in 2009.

The second ship of the class, now known as the Sao Paolo, was built in France in the 1950s. The French Navy originally named it Foch. It served several decades under the French Navy: It was commissioned in 1963 and decommissioned in 2000.

Under the French Navy, the warship was an active part of the country’s fleet. The aircraft carrier took part in France’s nuclear tests in the 1960s — the very first test by the European power in the Pacific, per the Guardian. It was also deployed in France’s military missions in Africa and the Middle East through the 1980s.

The Brazilian Navy bought the Sao Paolo from France in September 2000 for $12 million.Two Brasilian women wave a national flag as former French "Foch" aircraft carrier, renammed "Sao Paulo" leaves Brest harbour, 01 February 2001, western France.Two Brazilian women wave a national flag as former French “Foch” aircraft carrier, renamed “Sao Paulo” leaves Brest harbour, 01 February 2001, western France.

EMMANUEL PAIN/AFP via Getty Images

The Brazilian Navy commissioned the Sao Paolo in November 2000 and used it until February 2017, when it was officially declared out of service. It was eventually decommissioned in November 2018. Its pennant number was A12.

The Sao Paolo was used to train pilots for flying aircraft during carrier missions.Aerial view of the French aircraft carrier "Foch", off the Italian coast, in the Adriatic Sea, 20 May 1999.Aerial view of the French aircraft carrier “Foch”, off the Italian coast, in the Adriatic Sea, 20 May 1999.

THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images

Henrique Cardoso, who served as the president of Brazil from January 1995 to December 2002, said the Sao Paolo was purchased to “operate with efficiency in the high seas” and to strengthen its naval power to protect its 4,350-mile coastline.

The Sao Paolo was extensively refitted from 2005 to 2009. The warship was powered by six boilers and four steam turbines. Despite the refitting, the warship still contained asbestos and heavy metals.

Source: Maritime Executive

The Sao Paolo had the capacity to carry up to 39 aircraft at sea.A personnel member guides a Super Etendard 4P reconnaissance plane before its lift-off from the French aircraft carrier 'Foch' in the Adriatic sea on 4 February.A personnel member guides a Super Etendard 4P reconnaissance plane before its lift-off from the French aircraft carrier ‘Foch’ in the Adriatic sea on 4 February.

GERARD JULIEN/AFP via Getty Images

The ship had capacity for 1,920 people — 64 officers, 1,274 sailors, and 582 airmen.

The warship could carry 22 jets and 17 helicopters.

It was also fitted with armament including 100 milimeter turrets, 12.7 milimeter machine guns, and dual Simbad launchers.

Read the original article on Business Insider