A plan for Brazil to sink a toxic 60-year-old aircraft carrier in the South Atlantic has been put on hold following a last-minute purchase offer from Saudi Arabia.
The São Paulo, an 870-foot, 34,000-ton aircraft carrier, had been stuck in limbo for months after a deal with a Turkish company to scrap the ship fell through over environmental concerns because of asbestos.
The carrier was forced to return to Brazil under tow, prompting the government’s decision last weekend to sink it in international waters.
Now, the Sela business group, a Saudi firm, is apparently willing to take the ship off Brazil’s hands and even pay $6 million for it. With the proposal, Brazil’s navy decided to postpone the sinking, according to a report from the Folha De São Paulo newspaper.
“The Saudi group has an economic interest in the aircraft carrier, with the dismantling of parts, in addition to the hull representing an asset for whoever acquires it,” the newspaper reported Thursday.
Military sources told the paper they couldn’t rule out the possibility that the São Paulo could still sink because of its degraded condition.