News / Middle East

US Ship Prepared to Destroy Syrian Chemical Weapons

US Ship Prepared to Destroy Syrian Chemical Weaponsi
X
January 03, 2014 1:48 PM
The U.S. is preparing to deploy a ship that will destroy Syria's chemical weapons at sea. VOA Defense Department correspondent Luis Ramirez boarded the vessel for a look at how the process will work and has this report.
US Ship Prepared to Destroy Syrian Chemical Weapons
Luis Ramirez
Shipyard workers are readying the MV Cape Ray for a mission to destroy Syria's most potent chemical weapons arsenal at sea.

The U.S.-owned cargo ship is scheduled to leave for the Mediterranean in about two weeks, Pentagon officials told reporters during a tour of the ship on Thursday.

Deadly chemical weapons

The Syrian government agreed to turn over its chemical weapons last year amid threatened U.S. military action.

International monitors and crews from several nations will help in the process, escorting the chemical weapons shipments to a port in Syria where they will be loaded onto Scandinavian cargo ships. The weapons are expected to be transferred to the Cape Ray at an undisclosed port in Italy.

A December 31 deadline for removing most of the deadliest chemical agents has passed. International monitors say the delays are due to logistics, bad weather and continued fighting in Syria's on-going civil war.

Special equipment

The Cape Ray is being equipped with modular housing to accommodate three times its normal complement of crew.

Two hydrolysis units for destroying Syrian chemicals used in mustard and nerve gas weapons are also being installed.
Syria's chemical weapons will be destroyed inside this tent aboard the Cape Ray, which has been set up in the ship's cargo area.Syria's chemical weapons will be destroyed inside this tent aboard the Cape Ray, which has been set up in the ship's cargo area.
“What we'll do is convert materials that are chemical weapons themselves or precursors to chemical weapons," said Frank Kendall, who has oversight of chemical, biological and nuclear arms as U.S. Under Secretary for Defense. "We'll change them chemically into compounds that are no longer usable for that. This avoids having to put these materials on somebody's territory where you have to deal with all the political and environmental conditions associated with doing that under local law."

Hot spot

The process will occur in a tent in the ship's cargo area.

"This will be potentially the most contaminated area. This is the hottest area for us,” a worker in a yellow jacket told reporters on the ship.

Those who will operate the system say the process is safe and they will see to it that no toxic waste ends up in the sea.

The technology is not new. The U.S. has used it destroy America's own chemical weapons. But this is the first time it will be done at sea. 

Daryl Kimball, head of the Arms Control Association research group, believes it is the best option.

“The technology's well proven," he said. "It is a process that doesn't involve the possibility of explosives, of any burning, and so this is a relatively safe process.”

Test runs have already begun and the ship is awaiting orders to head for the Mediterranean. Technicians plan to neutralize about 700 tons of Syrian chemicals in a span of 45 days.

It's a big job and delays are likely. Crews are loading extra supplies in anticipation the work will take longer than scheduled.

Reuters contributed to this story.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: phillipp from: Rustenburg, SA
January 04, 2014 11:42 PM
It's a shame how the U.S is trying to rectify the mistake of Iraq here but not doing what they should. Without destroying the Syrian chemical weapons, they have the power to take Assad out of office so there be peace. Instead they are playing around him, thus looking for a corner in a circle. How???

by: Anonymous
January 04, 2014 5:44 PM
Good to see these chemicals removed from Bashar Al Assads hands. It will be great to see his arrest soon too.

by: Fuzzy Brower from: Miami
January 03, 2014 12:00 PM
The CIA, Western media, and Western politicians insist that they have taken every precaution to ensure the now admitted torrent of cash and weapons that have been flowing into Syria to compound and perpetuate the bloodbath, did not end up in the hands of terrorists. However, no plausible explanation has been given as to where al-Nusra is getting its cash and weapons from, or how it has managed to eclipse the extensively Western-backed “moderates,” to become the premier front in the fight against the Syrian people.

FACT: The CIA has a LONG HISTORY of staging terror attacks, then presenting themselves as the "answer".

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More