For Immediate Release

Turkish Authorities Ban the Entrance of Toxic Aircraft Carrier “SÃO PAULO”

Success After Weeks of Public Protests

Aliağa, Turkey. September 2, 2022. Turkey has finally banned the toxic aircraft carrier SÃO PAULO from entering its national waters. For weeks, local environmental and labour rights groups, supported by international NGOs, have been protesting the voyage of the vessel from Brazil to Aliağa, demanding compliance with the Basel and Barcelona Conventions.

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Public protest rally march on 4 August 2022 in Aliağa, Turkey. Image provided by Gokhan Ersoy.

"From a marvelous public march with participation of thousands of people in Aliağa to theatrical demonstrations in the center of İzmir and public statements in front of official buildings, all people came together around the one single demand: to stop this toxic ship," says Gokhan Ersoy, Project Development Officer at Greenpeace Mediterranean. "Digital and conventional signature petitions reached more than 150.000 people within a month! The will and never-ending commitment of people forced policy makers to reconsider the mistake they had made."

The decision by Murat Kurum, Turkish Minister of Environment, City and Climate Change, comes after a Federal District Court injunction to stop the departure of the ship was not enforced, and the Brazilian government and the buyer of the vessel failed to produce and submit a second Inventory of Hazardous Material (IHM) in order to properly identify the amounts of toxics onboard the ship. Indeed, a second audit was deemed necessary by Turkey after environmental and human rights organisations challenged the validity of the first one.

"The extraordinary resistance against the export of this ship comes at a moment of intensive environmental damage to this part of the world because of the ‘open door’ waste policy of the Turkish government," says Asli Odman of Istanbul Health and Safety Labour Watch. "No environmental or social dumping should be allowed to be able to put the environmental standards on a firm ground. Thus our struggle is not only a national one."

Following the cancellation of Turkey’s consent to the transboundary movement, IBAMA (Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources) has issued a letter to Oceans Prime Offshore Agenciamento Maritimo Ltda, the exporting company working with the buyer SOK, to arrange the immediate return of the SÃO PAULO to Brazil. However, to date, the company in control of the vessel has not yet provided information regarding the route change.

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Current path of the tow train pulling the aircraft carrier SÃO PAULO to Turkey.

"Together with the Basel Action Network (BAN), BAN Asbestos France, Henri Pézerat Association (Work, Health, Environment), International Ban Asbestos Secretariat (IBAS), İstanbul Isig Meclisi, Greenpeace Mediterranean and Brazilian ABREA (Associação Brasileira dos Expostos ao Amianto), the NGO Shipbreaking Platform is now calling for the governments of Morocco, Spain, and the UK to immediately halt the vessel should it attempt to cross the Strait of Gibraltar," says Nicola Mulinaris of the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. "There is no doubt that we are witnessing a clear case of illegal traffic."

For more information:

Jim Puckett, Executive Director of BAN
phone: +1(206) 652-5555

Annie Thébaud-Mony, for Ban Asbestos-France Association
Asli Odman, Istanbul Health and Safety Labour Watch

NGO Shipbreaking Platform
phone: +32 (0)260.94.419

About Basel Action Network

Founded in 1997, the Basel Action Network is a 501(c)3 charitable organization of the United States, based in Seattle, WA. BAN is the world's only organization focused on confronting the global environmental justice and economic inefficiency of toxic trade and its devastating impacts. Today, BAN serves as the information clearinghouse on the subject of waste trade for journalists, academics, and the general public. Through its investigations, BAN uncovered the tragedy of hazardous electronic waste dumping in developing countries. For more information, see

About The NGO Shipbreaking Platform

The NGO Shipbreaking Platform is a coalition of environmental, human and labour rights organisations, headquartered in Brussels, Belgium. For more than 10 years, we have been fighting for shipbreaking workers’ right to a safe job, the use of best available technologies, and for equally protective environmental standards globally. With a broad base of support both geographically and in orientation we challenge the arguments of a powerful shipping industry not used to being held accountable for its substandard practices. We raise public awareness of the human rights abuses and pollution caused by shipbreaking, and seek to prompt both policies and marketplace incentives to divert traffic away from the infamous breaking beaches. Our goal is to find sustainable solutions that encompass the principles of human rights, corporate accountability, environmental justice, “polluter pays”, producer responsibility and clean production.