By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 13, 2014 – The Military Sealift Command container ship MV Cape Ray left Portsmouth, Va., Jan. 10, to conduct its final sea trials in preparation for its upcoming mission to destroy Syrian chemical weapons, Army Col. Steve Warren, a Pentagon spokesman, said today.
During the sea trials, the crew and the Field-Deployable Hydrolysis System operators are evaluating the ship and the system at various sea states, Warren said.
“The crew conducted several training drills and assessed all systems aboard,” he said.
The ship is expected to return tomorrow for final outfitting before deploying to an as-yet undisclosed location in the Mediterranean Sea sometime late this week or early next week, Warren said.
The Cape Ray — crewed by a mix of 35 civilian mariners, about 64 chemical specialists from the U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center in Maryland, a security team and representatives from U.S. European Command — is expected to be underway for about two weeks before arriving at its destination, Warren said. Destruction of the chemical weapons is expected to take about 90 days.
The Field-Deployable Hydrolysis System was developed in response to a December request for U.S. assistance in destroying Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile. It achieves a 99.9 percent destruction efficiency and converts bulk amounts of chemical warfare agents into compounds not usable as weapons.
(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter @rouloafps)
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