… like we’ve ‘destroyed’ those tons of cocaine in the past? …
… because that would mean that those chemical weapons will be used on Americans.
– 600 tons of Syria chem arsenal now in Italy, loaded onto US ‘neutralizer’ ship (RT, July 2, 2014):
A Danish ship carrying hundreds of tons of the most hazardous Syrian chemical arsenal started handing them over to the US vessel which has special equipment to neutralize a dangerous stockpile at sea.
Ark Futura, a roll-on/roll-off freighter, started offloading the first containers to the MV Cape Ray, a US cargo vessel at the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro, said police and officials from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Denmark’s ship arrived at the port earlier Wednesday.
Local officials say the transfer will take about 20 hours. However, according to US Department of Defense, the transfer of the chemicals will take two or three days.
All 78 containers will be taken off the Danish ship by crane and transferred on the vast platform of the MV Cape Ray, reported AFP.
The first three boxes contain at least 20 tons of mustard gas, while the remaining 75 containers include other dangerous chemicals such as sarin nerve gas, reports AFP, citing Italian media.
As soon as the all 600 metric tons of the deadly arsenal is received by the MV Cape Ray, the ship will take them into the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. The stockpile will be destroyed in international waters “in a safe and environmentally sound manner,” says the US Department of Defense.
Two shipboard field deployable hydrolysis systems on the American ship designed specifically for the mission will transform the material into low-level hazardous industrial waste.
Once neutralized, the remaining material will still be considered dangerous. However, the substance can’t be further used to create chemical weapons. These materials will be processed by facilities in Germany and Finland.
According to the experts, the transformation process will take from 60 to 90 days and depends on the weather conditions.
“Never before has an entire arsenal of a category of weapons of mass destruction been removed from a country experiencing a state of internal armed conflict,” said Ahmet Uzumcu, the director general of OPCW. “And this has been accomplished within very demanding and tight timeframes.”
The last 8 percent of the initial 1,300 tons of hazardous material was loaded aboard the Danish ship June 23.
The removal of chemical agents from Syria began in early January, following an agreement brokered by Russia, in which Syria renounced its chemical weapons arsenal and joined the convention on Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons.