THE HAGUE, Aug. 13 (Xinhua) -- The United States completed the destruction of all 581 metric tons of a precursor chemical for sarin gas from Syria, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) announced Wednesday.
The chemicals were trans-loaded onto the U.S. maritime vessel Cape Ray in early July and destroyed with neutralization technology aboard the ship while sailing in international waters of the Mediterranean Sea.
The process was monitored and verified by a team of OPCW inspectors.
"The precursor chemicals were neutralized with two Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems (FDHS) that were installed on the Cape Ray," the OPCW stated. "The FDHS units mix the chemicals with fresh water and reagents and then heat the mixture, which reduces the toxicity of the chemicals by at least 99.9 percent. All of the resulting effluents are stored aboard the ship."
The U.S. vessel has begun operations to neutralize the remaining Syrian chemicals on the ship -- 19.8 metric tonnes of sulfur mustard. When completed, the vessel will transport the effluents for disposal at land-based facilities in Finland and Germany.
The destruction of the precursor chemicals has been a fundamental part the OPCW program to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons. The last of the remaining chemicals identified for removal from Syria were loaded aboard the Danish ship Ark Futura on June 23.