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Ship readied for Syria chemical weapons disposal

Jan. 2, 2014 - 04:14PM   |  
MV Cape Ray MWM 20140102
The MV Cape Ray and the Field Deployable Hydrolysis System is seen Jan. 2 at the NASSCO-Earl Shipyard in Portsmouth, Va. (Mike Morones/Staff)
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A tent covers the Field Deployable Hydrolysis System aboard the MV Cape Ray. (Mike Morones/Staff)

PORTSMOUTH, VA. — A 648-foot government cargo ship with a labyrinth of tubes and valves in its hold should sail within two weeks to destroy some of Syria’s chemical weapons.

The cavernous cargo hold of the MV Cape Ray was opened for media tours Thursday along the Elizabeth River in Portsmouth. The Defense Department displayed the two massive treatment units that will neutralize 700 tons of chemical weapons, including mustard gas and Sarin, a form of nerve gas.

Called field deployable hydrolysis systems, the technology has never been tested under conditions at sea.

Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics Frank Kendall said the technology has been used for a decade on U.S. soil, so he said there is “no mystery about the process.”

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