The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) welcomes the completion of disposal of effluents resulting from neutralisation operations aboard the US vessel Cape Ray. These operations governed the destruction at sea of almost 600 metric tonnes of sulphur mustard and methylphosphonyl difluoride (DF) from Syria’s chemical weapons programme. DF is a key precursor chemical for manufacturing nerve agent.
On 12 June 2015, a OPCW team verified the disposal of approximately 335.5 metric tonnes of sulphur mustard effluents at the German Government facility, Gesellschaft zur Entsorgung von Chemischen Kampfstoffen und Rüstungsaltlasten MBH (GEKA MBH). This was a significant in-kind contribution by the Federal Republic of Germany.
On 11 June 2015, Ekokem Riihimäki Waste Disposal Facility in Finland announced the disposal of 5,463 metric tonnes of DF effluents received from the Cape Ray. This process was part of a commercial contract, which included destruction of other chemicals from Syria’s chemical weapons programme. An OPCW inspection team will shortly deploy to Finland to verify completion of this process.
Welcoming this achievement, OPCW Director-General, Ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü noted, “This is yet another milestone on the path to eliminating chemical weapons stocks from Syria – one that was achieved in a safe and efficient way, thanks to the valuable support provided by the German Government and Finnish industry.”
Of the 1,328 metric tonnes of chemical weapon agent declared by the Syrian Arab Republic, only 16 metric tonnes of hydrogen fluoride remain to be destroyed at the facility of Veolia ES Technical Solutions, L.L.C. at Port Arthur in Texas in the United States. The destruction of the 12 former chemical weapons facilities is also underway.