The Ministry of Defence, the Advocacy General of the Union and the Brazilian Navy inform that, in relation to the hull of the former Aerodrome Ship São Paulo, it is initially important to point out that the administrative measures The issues referred to environmentally sustainable dismantling, from the outset, were dealt with jointly by the Brazilian Navy (MB), the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MRE) and the Advocacy -General of the Union (AGU), in the exercise of its specific competences.

After the sale of the hull, through a regular bidding procedure, ownership of the asset became private in nature, and it is up to public bodies, once the conditions are met, to issue the relevant authorizations for export to Turkey and the permanent monitoring of procedures, in order to meet the public interest involved.

This procedure represented an unprecedented attempt, for Brazil, to safely and environmentally sound recycling of a former state ship.

Ibama’s participation throughout the process was due to the fact that that body is the competent Brazilian authority under the Basel Convention. The case demanded actions, analyzes and reports of interest from the Brazilian and Turkish environmental agencies, until the necessary authorization for the cross-border movement was issued by both countries.

However, 22 days after transit began, the Turkish environmental authority unilaterally withdrew consent to import and dismantle the hull in that country. As a result, Ibama was left to suspend the export authorization and determine the immediate return of the hull to Brazil, in accordance with the precepts set out in the Basel Convention.

When the hull returned to the country, the MB, through the Brazilian Maritime Authority (AMB), based on the exercise of its powers provided for by law, presented requirements to guarantee the safety of navigation and the prevention of environmental pollution at sea and in the inland waters. At the time, AMB ordered the owner SÖK DENIZCILIK TIC.VE LTD (SÖK) to keep the hull in a maritime holding area outside the Territorial Sea, at a distance greater than 22 km from the coast; and the carrying out of a hull inspection by a Salvage Master company (responsible for verifying the integrity of the hull and the conditions of buoyancy and stability).

During the inspection, faults were found that should be repaired under the responsibility of the SÖK company. In order to make the repair and subsequent re-export feasible, the AMB determined the fulfillment of requirements for entering inland waters, among which the following stand out: •

The need to maintain P&I insurance coverage (Protection and Indemnity – protection and indemnity) , used to pay for eventual refloating or refloating/removal (in case of sinking) and to cover a period of work berthed in a certain shipyard; It is

• Presentation of a contract for berthing and repair of the hull, signed with a company/shipyard capable of performing the necessary services, with the respective detailed work plan and estimated time, whose terms establish the duties and responsibilities of each party, with regard to the surveillance and maintenance of equipment and systems, during the entire period in which the hull remains docked/berthed.

It should be mentioned that the AMB is not responsible for interfering in actions of a private nature that involve the selection of shipyards to conduct repairs or negotiate with port terminals. However, with a view to proceeding with re-export for an environmentally sustainable dismantling, AMB presented the company SÖK with a list of shipyards in Brazil with the technical capacity to carry out repairs to the hull.

Faced with the owner’s inertia in meeting the requirements determined by the AMB and the imminent possibility of abandoning the hull at sea, the AMB carried out a new expert inspection of the hull, in which a severe degradation of the buoyancy and stability conditions was found. In addition, the company did not renew the P&I insurance, nor did it present a contract for berthing and repair, signed with a company/shipyard for the execution of the necessary services.

In view of the above, the Brazilian State had no alternative but to consider the property as lost, under the terms of Law No. 7,542/1986, and assume administrative control of the hull, in order to avoid damage to the environment and preserve the navigation. It should be noted that SÖK did not cease to be responsible for the property.

AMB, with provision in law and international standards, acted in such a way as to avoid the possibility of running aground or sinking that could pose a danger to navigation or interdict the access channel to a national port, with logistical, operational, environmental and economic losses to the Brazilian state.

As part of this process, the tow train (tug and hull) was directed to the most distant maritime area, within the Brazilian Jurisdictional Waters (AJB), 350 km from the Brazilian coast and with an approximate depth of 5 thousand meters, where the Ocean Support Purus replaced the contracted tug, accompanied by Frigata União, both from MB.

That area, selected based on a study conducted by the Navy’s Hydrography Center, was considered the safest for the conditions of severe degradation of the hull. For this purpose, the following parameters were considered:

– location within the Exclusive Economic Zone of Brazil;

– location outside Environmental Protection Areas;

– area free from interference with documented submarine cables;

– area without interference from works projects on water (eg wind farms); and

– area with depths greater than 3 thousand meters.

In view of the facts presented and the increasing risk involved in towing, due to the deterioration of the hull’s buoyancy conditions and the inevitability of spontaneous/uncontrolled sinking, it is not possible to adopt any other course of action other than jettisoning the hull, through of the planned and controlled sinking.

Finally, it should be noted that the decisions were guided by technical criteria and adopted with the assistance of the bodies involved, in the exercise of their specific and common attributions. It should also be noted that the Attorney General’s Office will adopt all appropriate extrajudicial and judicial measures, with the purpose of mitigating, repairing and safeguarding the interests of the Brazilian State.

Ministry of Defense
Advocacy General of the
Brazilian Navy Union

Wikipedia photo