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Virginia cargo ship being outfitted for Syria chemical weapons destruction

As the June deadline to destroy all of Syria’s chemical weapons inches closer, a U.S. cargo ship prepares for a possible trip to the Mediterranean to assist in the mission.

The Maritime Administration vessel MV Cape Ray is being outfitted in a Portsmouth, Va., shipyard with technology capable of destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. Part of the ship’s arsenal, The Associated Press reported Thursday, is a Field Deployable Hydrolysis System that neutralizes lethal agents, such as nerve gas, with “water and bleaching compounds.” The technology could be used to treat more than two dozen tons of chemicals daily.

The Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons in a suburb of Damascus last August resulted in 1,400 deaths. Russia soon brokered a deal for Syria to [remove its chemical weapon arsenal. The agreement between U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad outlined that all the weapons would be destroyed by June 2014.

Before its overseas voyage, preparatory work must be finished and sea trials completed.

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