OPCW: Destroying Syria's Chemical Weapons at Sea is a Possibility


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A spokesman from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has said that Syria's chemical weapons could be destroyed at sea rather than on land.

From the Associated Press:

OPCW spokesman Christian Chartier said the alternative of destruction at sea, on a boat or floating rig, is a "feasible" possibility.

Chartier told The Associated Press, "All options are on the table." No further details have been released.

Among mobile systems that could be put on a ship and sent to sea is one owned by the U.S. Defense Department. The Field Deployable Hydrolysis System is a transportable neutralization system that uses water, other chemicals and heat to change chemical warfare material into compounds not usable as weapons.

The news comes after authorities in Albania, Norway, and Belgium declined to have their country host the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons.

Although destroying the weapons at sea has numerous advantages, chemical weapons disarmament consultant Ralf Trapp told the AP that there are, unsurprisingly, potential regulatory, environmental, and logistic issues that would need to be addressed:

Trapp told the AP that using a sea-based facility would have numerous advantages, including the ability to position it far from populated areas.

But he said there were many problems to be addressed beforehand, including restrictions in the U.N. Convention on the Law of Sea intended to protect the marine environment, and how to transport the highly toxic cargo so it presents a minimal risk for sailors, other maritime traffic and the oceans in general.

More from Reason.com on Syria here