After just seven years of service in the Brazilian Navy where it was wracked with maintenance and structural problems, given that by the time it was purchased from the French it was already four decades old, Brazil's only aircraft carrier is now up for sale.
Officially decommissioned in 2017, the São Paulo never actually saw more than three months of successful continual operation without the need for repairs and maintenance.
According to The Drive, it's now up for auction with bids starting at $1.275 million, or "roughly a tenth of what the country paid to buy the ship from France".
Though discussions are underway to replace the carrier amid a broader fleet modernization program, this leaves Brazil's navy with merely one aviation vessel, a helicopter carrier with the name Atlantico.
Robert Beckhusen, an analyst and editor for War is Boring, previously described of the Sao Paulo's storied career at sea: “During her 40 years in service with the French navy, Foch’s air wings dodged Yemeni MiGs, intervened in the Lebanese civil war and bombed Serbia during the Kosovo conflict.”
But by the time of Brazil's acquisition it became a floating money-pit, wrote Beckhusen:
France sold Foch to Brazil in 2000, and the renamed Sao Paulo carried out exercises and launched Brazil’s AF-1 Skyhawk attack planes from her flat, catapult-launch deck — similar to U.S. carriers and the Charles de Gaulle, France’s sole remaining fleet carrier. ...
Brazil paid France $12 million for the carrier but sank $100 million more keeping her seaworthy Fires broke out aboard the vessel at least twice, once in 2004 — killing several sailors — and again 2012. The accidents forced costly repairs and kept the carrier in port for long periods of time.
By 2016, after many costly repairs, there were fears that it could take another decade to get the ship up to its full operational capacity.
“By the time the Brazilian navy finally decided to just retire the ship in 2017, it was the world's oldest commissioned aircraft carrier,” The Drive noted. “In the better part of two decades that the flattop had flown the Brazilian flag, she had spent just 206 days at sea.”
Of course, it doesn't appear Latin America's largest country is really in need of a full blown aircraft carrier, given its greatest defense threat comes by land along the borders it shares with a total of ten countries, and given the relative instability of regional politics.
Currently, there's a movement to attempt to turn the Sao Paulo into a museum. A previous and brief unsuccessful attempt to put the carrier up for auction had resulted in a top bid of $8.9 million until the process was halted.