According to the
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW),
some of the “neutralisation operations” relating to Syria’s
chemical weapons will be carried out aboard a U.S Navy ship.
From the BBC:
The US naval vessel on which neutralisation will take place has
not been officially named but is believed to be the MV Cape Ray. It
is undergoing modifications to support the operations.
These should be completed by 31 December, the OPCW said.
The announcement is another strong sign that the timetable given
to destroy all Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal and capabilities by
the middle of next year could be achieved, despite its many
apparent difficulties, says the BBC’s Middle East editor Sebastian
The news comes after officials in
Belgium said that they did not want their country to host the
destruction of the Assad regime’s chemical weapons arsenal.
I highlighted the fact that the OPCW was open to having chemical
weapons destroyed at sea
last month. In that post, I mentioned comments made by chemical
weapons disarmament consultant Ralf Trapp, who told the AP that
dealing with chemical weapons at sea comes with some
Trapp told the AP that using a sea-based facility would have
numerous advantages, including the ability to position it far from
But he said there were many problems to be addressed beforehand,
including restrictions in the U.N. Convention on the Law of Sea
intended to protect the marine environment, and how to transport
the highly toxic cargo so it presents a minimal risk for sailors,
other maritime traffic and the oceans in general.
United Nations diplomat Sigrid Kaag outlined the logistical
details of getting the chemical weapons put on the American
The international organization’s director general, Ahmet Uzumcu,
said in The Hague that the U.S. government will contribute “a
destruction technology, full operational support and financing to
neutralize” the weapons, most likely on a ship in the Mediterranean
Sea. The weapons are to be removed from Syria by Dec. 31.
The weapons and chemicals “will not be [destroyed] in Syrian
territorial waters,” Kaag said at a news conference in
Separately, Sigrid Kaag, appointed as the go-between for the
United Nations and the OPCW on destroying Syria’s chemical weapons
stockpile, laid out some logistical details. Importantly, the
weapons will first be packaged and transported from multiple sites
within Syria to the country’s largest port, Latakia. Then they will
be loaded onto ships owned by other OPCW members before a second
handoff to U.S. vessels.
More from Reason.com on Syria here.
from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/02/us-navy-ship-to-play-role-in-destruction