Ship readied for Syria chemical weapons disposal

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Associated Press

Posted on January 2, 2014 at 6:34 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 2 at 9:04 AM

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) — A cargo ship is being outfitted in Virginia with sophisticated technology capable of destroying Syria's chemical weapons.

The 648-foot MV Cape Ray is undergoing work in a Portsmouth shipyard before sea trials and its expected voyage to the Mediterranean. The vessel in the Maritime Administration's ready reserve is rolling out the gangplank Thursday for media visits.

A key shipboard addition is a high-tech system that can neutralize lethal chemical weapons such as nerve gas with water and bleaching compounds. It could treat more than two dozen metric tons of chemicals daily in international waters.

The confirmed use of chemical weapons last August in a suburb of Damascus, Syria, killed 1,400 people, according to the U.S. government. That led to a U.S.-Russian agreement for eliminating Syria's chemical weapons.

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