The crew of the U.S. ship MV Cape Ray has completed the work of neutralizing Syrian chemical weapons components, Pentagon Press Secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a statement on Monday.
“This morning (August 18th), Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called Navy Captain Rich Dromerhauser aboard the US ship MV Cape Ray to congratulate the ship’s crew on finishing their unprecedented work of neutralizing, at sea, the most dangerous chemicals in Syria’s declared stockpile,” Kirby said.
US Defense Secretary congratulated the crew saying that by “ridding the world of these materials, they – as part of an ongoing international effort to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal – have helped make an important and enduring contribution to global security.”
“Today’s milestone would not have been possible without the contributions of our many international partners, or the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which provided the funding to carry out these operations. While the international community’s work to completely eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons program is not yet finished, the secretary believes this is a clear demonstration of what can be achieved when diplomacy is backed by a willingness to use military force,” Kirby added.
Cape Ray started the destruction of the chemical weapons on July 7 under the umbrella of UN’s Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). The U.S. ship has two field-deployable hydrolysis systems in its holds. The systems mix the chemicals in a titanium reactor to render them inert.
The byproducts will now proceed to facilities in the United Kingdom, the United States and Finland for final processing.
Press Release, August 19, 2014; Image: US DoD