Brazil’s ship graveyard risks environmental disaster, warns activist group

Brazil's ship graveyard risks environmental disaster, warns activist group
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GUANABARA BAY, Dec 29 (Reuters) – On a stormy evening in mid-November, a huge, abandoned cargo ship left its berth and slowly sank onto a huge concrete bridge carrying cars from Brazil’s Guanabara Bay to Rio de Janeiro.

The Brazilian navy said the Sao Luiz, a rusting 200-meter (660-foot) 1994-built cargo carrier, had been anchored in the bay for more than six years awaiting trial before it collided with Latin America’s tallest ship. – water bridge. The Navy said it was investigating.

“The Sao Luiz is still in the port of Rio today with 50 tonnes of fuel oil,” Sergio Ricardo, co-founder of the socio-environmental group Movimento Baia Viva (Living Bay Movement), told Reuters, pointing to the high levels. from corrosion.

“The ship is dangerous and could cause an environmental disaster,” he said.

Financial and legal problems are common reasons for shipowners to abandon ships around the world.

The Sao Luiz is one of dozens of ships rusting in the famous but heavily polluted bay, once home to vast mangroves and thriving marine life.

Mangroves are now severely depleted and increased pollution from shipwrecks threatens local seahorses, green turtles and Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Guiana dolphins.

A survey by the State University of Rio de Janeiro this year found that as many as 800 Guiana dolphins remained in the bay in the 1990s.

Along with the impact of ships on marine life and on ships having to navigate an obstacle course of semi-floating shells, pollution of the bay is costing tens of billions in real terms a year with its pollution, Ricardo estimates.

Fernando Pinto Lima, 62, a former fisherman in the bay, told Reuters he used to catch 50 to 100 kilograms of fish quickly. “Now it takes a week or a month to catch fifty kilograms,” he said.

After the Sao Luiz accident, local media reported that authorities were studying how to remove the ghost ships. But derelict ships continue to mold above and below its muddy waters.

($1 = 5.2186 reais)

Reporting by Pilar Olivares; Author: Sarah Morland; Edited by Bradley Perrett

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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