The business group Sela, from Saudi Arabia, contacted the Brazilian Navy to present an offer for the purchase of the hull of the aircraft carrier São Paulo. The proposal was made on Monday (30) after Folha revealed that the Navy planned to sink the vessel in view of the advanced degree of degradation of the old airfield. The Saudi group has offered around BRL 30 million for the acquisition of the hull — an amount three times greater than that made by the Turkish shipyard Sök Denizcilik and Ticaret Limited. The Turkish company even signed the acquisition contract with the Navy but decided to return the aircraft carrier after Turkey vetoed the vessel's entry into its territory.
With the proposal, the Brazilian Navy decided to postpone the sinking of the hull, which was scheduled to take place on Thursday (1st). Military sources do not rule out the possibility of the vessel involuntarily sinking, as the ship's floating conditions are terrible.
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 aircraft carrier São Paulo is 266 meters long. Its armament consisted of three twin missile launchers and heavy-caliber machine guns. Unused for decades, the ship was dismantled in France. In the 1990s, it went through a demining process, which removed 55 tons of toxic products. Even so, asbestos is still present in the walls of the aircraft carrier – the substance was used as a thermal and acoustic insulator, to reduce the noise of the aircraft taking off for the crew.
Translated by Cassy Dias