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Pentagon Readies Ship for Syrian Chemical Weapons Disposal

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MV Cape Ray (T-AKR-9679)

MV Cape Ray (T-AKR-9679)

The Pentagon is preparing a ship-borne facility to neutralize of Syrian chemical weapons at sea, a defense official told USNI News on Monday.

MV Cape Ray (T-AKR-9679) — a ship in the U.S. Maritime Administration’s (MARAD)Ready Reserve Force — will be leased by the Navy through U.S. Military Sea Lift Command to field a chemical weapon disposal package, according to the official.

Plans call for the ship to field the U.S. Army’s Field Deployable Hydrolysis System (FDHS), a system on the ship to destroy chemical weapons into materials that can’t be used again as weapons.

The FDHS system was demonstrated successfully this year. There’s no timeline when Cape Ray and FDHS could arrive in the region.

Artist concept of the U.S. Army’s Field Deployable Hydrolysis System. US Army Photo

Artist concept of the U.S. Army’s Field Deployable Hydrolysis System. US Army Photo

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has previously said the U.S. had offered help in the chemical weapons disposal, according to a report in Reuters.

The OPCW is overseeing the disposal of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.

We have offered and are currently outfitting a U.S. vessel with field deployable hydrolysis system technology to support the OPCW’s efforts,” a White House spokes person told the news service on Sunday.

Cape Ray is one of three Japanese-built so-called roll-on/roll-off (RO/RO) cargo ships in the MARAD inventory. The ships have a fully loaded displacement of about 35,000 tons and have 141,680 square feet of vehicle cargo space.