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

Photogallery Ukraine: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins 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.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid