Now That’s a Serious Boat

The 650-foot cargo ship Cape Ray is being outfitted to destroy chemical weapons at sea.

January 20, 2014

Cargo Ship Cape Ray

The 650-foot Cape Ray will be used to destroy chemical weapons at sea. Courtesy Bloomberg

The 650-foot American cargo ship Cape Ray is being retrofitted to do something that has never before been done: destroy lethal chemical weapons at sea.

Cape Ray is currently at a shipyard in Virginia, where two portable hydrolysis systems are being installed. The plan is to use them to neutralize the most dangerous chemicals from Syria. Various cargo ships will carry the most dangerous elements used for mustard gas and sarin from Syria to Italy, escorted by Danish and Norwegian vessels. Then, in waters somewhere off the coast of Italy, about 700 tons of the chemicals will be loaded onto the Cape Ray, which will take them to an undisclosed location and neutralize them.

There will be 35 crew members and 63 specialists onboard the Cape Ray in addition to a security team, according to Yahoo! News. The U.S. military says the technology for the operation has existed for decades, but using it at sea will be a first. If all goes according to plan, the lethal agents will become a sludge not unlike industrial toxic waste. Dozens of private companies are vying for contracts to dispose of the hazardous sludge.




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