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THE HAGUE, August 19. /ITAR-TASS/. Director General of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Ahmet Uzumcu on Tuesday confirmed the neutralization of chemical arms onboard the US ship Cape Ray.
Uzumcu said all the 600 metric tons of most dangerous substances had been destroyed. "This ends a crucial stage in the complex international maritime operation to remove and destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile," he said.
Five hundred and eighty-one tons of precursor chemical for sarin gas and 19 tons of mustard gas were neutralized with two Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems (FDHS) installed on the Cape Ray. The chemicals were mixed in the FDHS units with fresh water and reagents, and then the mixture was heated to reduce the chemicals' toxicity by at least 99.9%, according to the director general.
Uzumcu said that the chemical weapons had been neutralized long before the 60-day schedule and that OPCW inspectors confirmed that no chemicals had escaped into the sea or otherwise impacted the environment.
The Cape Ray will sail to Germany and Finland where the effluent will be eliminated at industrial companies.
A peace initiative brought forward by Russia about a year ago helped reach an agreement on eliminating Syria's chemical weapons stockpile. More than 1,200 tons of chemical agents were taken out of the country for elimination at US and Finnish plants. Britain reported it had eliminated 190 tons of Syria's chemical weapons.