Brazil scuttles warship in Atlantic despite pollution concerns

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Brazil on Friday sank a decommissioned aircraft carrier, the Navy announced, despite environmental groups claiming the formerly French ship was packed with toxic materials.

The “planned and controlled sinking occurred late in the afternoon” on Friday, some 350 kilometers (220 miles) off the Brazilian coast in the Atlantic Ocean, in an area with an “approximate depth of 5,000 meters (16,000 feet)” the Navy said in a statement.

The decision to scuttle the six-decade-old Sao Paulo, which had been announced Thursday, came after Brazilian authorities had tried in vain to find a port willing to welcome it.

Though defense officials said they would sink the vessel in the “safest area,” environmentalists attacked the decision, saying the aircraft carrier contains tons of asbestos, heavy metals and other toxic materials that could leach into the water and pollute the marine food chain.

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