Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

US ship leaves Italian port to destroy Syrian chemical weapons at sea

The U.S. cargo vessel MV Cape Ray leaves the Gioia Tauro port, southern Italy, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. Cargo containers carrying hundreds of tons of Syrian chemical weapons were loaded onto a U.S. cargo ship Wednesday for destruction at sea, one of the final phases of the international effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapon stockpile. The chemicals had crossed the Mediterranean aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura, which steamed into the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro as the sun rose Wednesday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Enlarge Image

The U.S. cargo vessel MV Cape Ray leaves the Gioia Tauro port, southern Italy, Wednesday, July 2, 2014. Cargo containers carrying hundreds of tons of Syrian chemical weapons were loaded onto a U.S. cargo ship Wednesday for destruction at sea, one of the final phases of the international effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapon stockpile. The chemicals had crossed the Mediterranean aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura, which steamed into the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro as the sun rose Wednesday. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

GIOIA TAURO, Italy - A United States cargo vessel loaded with hundreds of tons of Syria's chemical weapons left an Italian port Wednesday to destroy the arms at sea as part of the international effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapon stockpile.

The MV Cape Ray steamed out of the southern Italian port of Gioia Tauro after a 12-hour operation to transfer the chemicals from a Danish ship, the Ark Futura.

It was heading into the open sea where it will neutralize the chemicals — including mustard gas and the raw materials for sarin nerve gas — with special machinery outfitted in its cargo hold.

A statement late Wednesday from the U.S. Defence Department said "neutralization operations will soon begin" in international waters and is expected to take several weeks to complete.

The chemicals had crossed the Mediterranean aboard the Ark Futura, which steamed into Gioia Tauro as the sun rose Wednesday. Throughout the day 78 containers were transferred, with cranes lifting each container onto a flatbed truck that then drove into the cargo hold of the U.S. vessel.

Italy's environment minister, Gian Luca Galletti, proclaimed the mission a proud moment for Italy, tweeting that the country was contributing to international security in a "transparent and environmentally secure operation."

Local residents, however, complained that they were kept in the dark about what would happen and what chemicals were involved.

"You are killing us," read a banner held up by children, part of a small protest by residents concerned that the region's cancer rates could spike if any toxins leak.

In the cargo hold of the Cape Ray are two Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems: mazes of tanks, tubes, cables and electronics that will mix the chemicals with heated water and other chemicals in a titanium reactor to render them inert.

The resulting waste will be disposed of on land in dumps equipped to handle hazardous materials.

U.S. officials say no vapour or water runoff will be released into the atmosphere or the sea as a result of the process.

___

Winfield reported from Rome. Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor in Washington contributed.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media