The union-crewed, U.S.-flag Cape Ray is sailing once again as it begins the actual work on the mission for which it was deployed: the neutralization of Syria’s chemical weapons.
Last week, the Department of Defense reported the successful transfer of the chemicals from the Danish container ship Ark Futura to the Cape Ray. The American-flag vessel departed the Italian port of Gioia Tauro for international waters in the Mediterranean Sea, where neutralization operations will soon begin. The neutralization process should take several weeks to complete.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed his gratitude to Danish and Italian authorities for their support in this process and his pride of everyone who helped make possible this safe and incident-free transfer. He extended a special thanks to the men and women of the Cape Ray, Naval Forces Europe, and U.S. European Command teams for their impeccable planning and execution.
Crewmembers sailing the Cape Ray include those from the MTD-affiliated Seafarers Union as well as the Marine Engineers’ Beneficial Association. Additionally, technicians serving on the vessel include members of the MTD-affiliated International Association of Machinists.
The Cape Ray set sail in late January for the Mediterranean to prepare for the exchange which was delayed for several months because of the ever-changing situation and conditions within Syria.