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U.S. ship prepping for Syrian chemical arms mission

Jan. 2, 2014 - 08:46AM   |  
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PORTSMOUTH, VA. — A cargo ship is being outfitted in Virginia with sophisticated technology capable of destroying Syriaís chemical weapons.

The 648-foot (197-meter) MV Cape Ray is undergoing work in a Portsmouth shipyard before sea trials and its expected voyage to the Mediterranean. The vessel in the Maritime Administrationís ready reserve is rolling out the gangplank Thursday for media visits.

A key shipboard addition is a high-tech system that can neutralize lethal chemical weapons such as nerve gas with water and bleaching compounds. It could treat more than two dozen metric tons of chemicals daily in international waters.

The U.S. says a chemical weapons attack last August in a suburb of Damascus, Syria, killed 1,400 people. The Syrian government has since agreed to a U.S.-Russian deal to eliminate its chemical arms.

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