Statement by the OPCW Director-General on the Destruction of Syrian Chemicals Aboard the MV Cape Ray

19 August 2014
Ahmet Üzümcü, OPCW Director-General

Ahmet Üzümcü, OPCW Director-General

In an unprecedented undertaking, the U.S. Maritime Vessel Cape Ray has completed destruction of its entire consignment of 600 metric tonnes of Category 1 chemicals from the Syrian Arab Republic. This ends a crucial stage in the complex international maritime operation to remove and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. I wish to congratulate and thank the United States, the crew aboard the Cape Ray, and our OPCW inspectors and demilitarisation experts for this remarkable achievement.

The Cape Ray’s consignment included the most dangerous chemicals in Syria’s arsenal: 581 metric tonnes of DF, a binary precursor for sarin gas, and 19.8 metric tonnes of ready-to-use sulfur mustard (HD). They were neutralised with two Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems (FDHS) on the Cape Ray, which reduced their toxicity by 99.9 percent in line with the requirements of the Chemical Weapons Convention. 

Furthermore, the operation was successfully completed weeks ahead of the 60-day schedule the U.S. had estimated would be needed, and OPCW inspectors aboard the ship verified that no chemicals of any kind escaped into the sea or otherwise impacted the environment. The Cape Ray will now transport the effluent from the hydrolysis operations to Finland and Germany, where it will be offloaded for disposal at land-based facilities.  

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