Türkiye bans Brazilian Navy’s retired aircraft carrier from entering the country

Brazilian Navy’s aircraft carrier Sao Paulo is banned from entering Turkish waters after the country’s officials requested a new inventory of hazardous materials (IHM) following alerts from numerous environmental organizations.

The information was revealed by Turkish Minister of Environment, City and Climate Change Murat Kurum. The minister gave a press statement emphasizing that the approval for entering the country was cancelled “and that the ship would not be allowed to enter Turkish territorial waters”.

The reason behind this decision lies in the fact that the Brazilian government did not send a detailed report on the presence of toxic substances contained in the vessel as was earlier requested by Turkish authorities.

“Due to the fact that the ‘Hazardous Substances Inventory Report’, which should be prepared by showing the places where asbestos and other dangerous substances are found on the ship and by photographing the sampling points, was not submitted to our Ministry; It has been decided to cancel the conditional notification approval…,” Kurum stated.

On August 9, Turkish authority Eyüp Karahan, general director of Environmental Management, sent a letter to the Brazilian Basel Convention Competent Authority (IBAMA) asking for a new IHM to be conducted:

“… As a result of the Supreme Court’s interim injunction, news in the press, and the hazardous materials notices made to our Ministry, it has emerged that a new Inventory of Hazardous Materials for the ex-naval vessel in question should be prepared while the vessel is in Brazilian territorial waters before it comes to our country.

Claiming for weeks that the export of the ship from Brazil to Turkey is illegal under the Basel and Barcelona Conventions and that the current IHM is not credible, environmental, and labour rights groups working on this matter in Turkey, Brazil, and internationally praised the Turkish action.

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Kurum reminded that the application submitted for dismantling was given conditional approval on 30 May 2022 “provided that inspection is made before entering our territorial waters and dismantling is done under the supervision of experts appointed by the Ministry”.

Commissioned back in 1963 by the French Navy as Foch, the aircraft carrier was acquired by the Brazilian Navy in 2000 and became its new flagship. After numerous issues, it was officially disabled in 2017 and auctioned off to the Turkish shipbreaking yard for scraping.

Photo: Courtesy of NGO Shipbreaking Platform