Brazil on Friday sank a decommissioned aircraft carrier named "Sao Paulo," the navy announced.
The sinking was authorized despite environmental groups warning that the former French ship was packed with toxic materials.
"The procedure was conducted with the necessary technical competence and safety" in order to "avoid logistical, operational, environmental and economic damage to the Brazilian state," the navy said in a statement.
The ship had turned into a ghost ship as it was aimlessly sailing through the Atlantic for the last five months.
Environmentalists call out Lula da Silva
The "Sao Paulo" was sunk in Brazilian territorial waters in the Atlantic ocean, some 350 kilometers (217 miles) off the coast.
Although defense officials said that they would sink the vessel in the "safest area," environmentalists attacked the decisions.
Activists said the aircraft carrier contained hazardous material that could leach into the water and pollute the marine food chain.
A day before the sinking, the Brazilian attorney general's office filed a new appeal before the Justice Department, saying the ship was carrying 9.6 tons of asbestos, a toxic substance, as well as 644 tons of inks and "other dangerous material."
The Basel Action Network (BAN), an NGO, called on Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva to immediately halt the "dangerous" plan.
The president, commonly referred to as Lula, took office last month and vowed to reverse surging environmental destruction
that took place under the far-right former President Jai Bolsonaro.
No takers for 'Sao Paulo'
In 2022, Brazil sold the ship for $2 million (€ 1.8 million) to a Turkish shipyard firm — Sok Denizcilik, which specialized in shipbreaking.
However, the ship never reached its destination because the Turkish environmental authorities prohibited its entry, forcing it to turn around shortly before reaching the Strait of Gibraltar.
Brazil brought the carrier back but did not allow it into the port, citing the "high risk" to the environment.
Proud ship to ghost ship
The former warship was built in France in the late 1950s and served the French navy under the name "Foch." It reportedly sailed it for 37 years.
The aircraft carrier was 266-meters-long (873-feet-long) with a capacity to hold 1,300 crew members and 30 fighter-bombers.
In the 1960s, it took part in France's first nuclear tests in the Pacific. From 1970s to 1990s, it engaged in deployments in Africa, the Middle East and former Yugoslavia.
Brazil bought the ship for $12 million (€ 11 million) in 2000 but deactivated it in 2017 as it spent more time in port than at sea.
In 2005, a fire broke out on board in 2005, accelerating the aging ship's decline.