U.S. Chemical-Destruction Ship Departs for Syria Mission

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
Global Security Newswire Staff
Jan. 28, 2014, 6:41 a.m.

A spe­cially equipped U.S. ves­sel em­barked on Monday for a mis­sion to neut­ral­ize Syr­ia’s dead­li­est war­fare chem­ic­als, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

The MV Cape Ray would need about two weeks to reach the Itali­an sea­port of Gioia Tauro, where it is ex­pec­ted to pick up hun­dreds of tons of chem­ic­al-war­fare stocks re­moved from Syr­ia by Dan­ish and Nor­we­gi­an trans­port ships. The U.S. ves­sel would carry the weapon agents and arms in­gredi­ents out to sea, where they would be com­bined with hot wa­ter and oth­er ma­ter­i­als in ma­chinery de­signed to gen­er­ate a re­l­at­ively harm­less waste.

The De­fense De­part­ment on Monday stated that end ma­ter­i­als “will be safely and prop­erly dis­posed of at com­mer­cial fa­cil­it­ies,” and stressed that none would be “re­leased in­to the sea or air.”

Ap­prox­im­ately 35 non­mil­it­ary crew mem­bers and a num­ber of op­er­a­tions ex­perts were on the ves­sel, AP quoted De­fense De­part­ment spokes­man Col. Steve War­ren as say­ing on Monday. The Navy’s Mil­it­ary Seal­ift Com­mand as­sumed over­sight of the ship this week from the Trans­port­a­tion De­part­ment’s Ready Re­serve Force.

The Cape Ray is slated to ul­ti­mately take on more than five dozen people trained to run its chem­ic­al-de­struc­tion tech­no­logy, as well as pro­tec­tion per­son­nel and oth­er crew.

U.S. De­fense Sec­ret­ary Chuck Hagel said in a state­ment that ship per­son­nel are “about to ac­com­plish something no one has tried.”

As they pre­pared to set sail, Hagel told the work­ers, “You will be des­troy­ing, at sea, one of the world’s largest stock­piles of chem­ic­al weapons and help­ing make a safer world.”

Pri­or to de­struc­tion, though, the chem­ic­als must be trans­por­ted through Syr­ia by forces loy­al to Pres­id­ent Bashar As­sad. Dis­arm­a­ment of­fi­cials have placed high im­port­ance on pro­tect­ing the stocks dur­ing ship­ment through the war-rav­aged Middle East­ern na­tion.

As­sad’s re­gime on Monday placed its second load of the dan­ger­ous sub­stances on for­eign ships. En­voys and non­pro­lif­er­a­tion sources pegged the size of that cache at 15 to 20 tons, which means that about one-twen­ti­eth of As­sad’s most dan­ger­ous chem­ic­al stocks are now in in­ter­na­tion­al cus­tody, the New York Times re­por­ted.

Yet, As­sad’s gov­ern­ment “should be way down the road by now” in turn­ing over the ma­ter­i­als, said Chris­ti­an Charti­er, a spokes­man for the Or­gan­iz­a­tion for the Pro­hib­i­tion of Chem­ic­al Weapons. In­ter­na­tion­al au­thor­it­ies are un­der a self-im­posed dead­line to des­troy Syr­ia’s en­tire chem­ic­al ar­sen­al by the middle of 2014.

The Syr­i­an re­gime ad­mit­ted pos­sess­ing a chem­ic­al ar­sen­al and agreed to its de­struc­tion last year, after a nerve-gas strike al­legedly killed more than 1,400 people in a rebel-held Dam­as­cus neigh­bor­hood.

What We're Following See More »
ANOTHER NUCLEAR OPTION?
Byrd Rule Could Trip Up Health Legislation
21 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Even if House Republicans manage to get enough members of their party on board with the latest version of their health care bill, they will face another battle in the Senate: whether the bill complies with the chamber’s arcane ... Byrd rule, which stipulates all provisions in a reconciliation bill must affect federal spending and revenues in a way that is not merely incidental." Democrats should have the advantage in that fight, "unless the Senate pulls another 'nuclear option.'”

Source:
ONE WEEK
Senate Votes To Fund Government
23 hours ago
BREAKING
ON TO SENATE
House Passes Spending Bill
1 days ago
BREAKING

The House has passed a one-week spending bill that will avert a government shutdown which was set to begin at midnight. Lawmakers now have an extra week to come to a longer agreement which is expected to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The legislation now goes to the Senate, where it is expected to pass before President Trump signs it.

PRESIDENT CALLS MEDICAID FUNDS A “BAILOUT”
Puerto Rico Another Sticking Point in Budget Talks
1 days ago
THE DETAILS

President Trump’s portrayal of an effort to funnel more Medicaid dollars to Puerto Rico as a "bailout" is complicating negotiations over a continuing resolution on the budget. "House Democrats are now requiring such assistance as a condition for supporting the continuing resolution," a position that the GOP leadership is amenable to. "But Mr. Trump’s apparent skepticism aligns him with conservative House Republicans inclined to view its request as a bailout, leaving the deal a narrow path to passage in Congress."

Source:
POTENTIAL GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN?
Democrats Threaten Spending Bill Over Obamacare
1 days ago
BREAKING

Democrats in the House are threatening to shut down the government if Republicans expedite a vote on a bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, said Democratic House Whip Steny Hoyer Thursday. Lawmakers have introduced a one-week spending bill to give themselves an extra week to reach a long-term funding deal, which seemed poised to pass easily. However, the White House is pressuring House Republicans to take a vote on their Obamacare replacement Friday to give Trump a legislative victory, though it is still not clear that they have the necessary votes to pass the health care bill. This could go down to the wire.

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login