Italy allows Syrian chemicals to be trans-loaded in Italian harbor

Photo: Italy allows Syrian chemicals to be trans-loaded in Italian harbor / Arabic region

The Italian government has allowed the port of Gioia Tuaro to be used for trans-loading priority chemicals brought from Syria by cargo vessels onto a U.S. ship, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) director-general Ahmet Uzumcu said Thursday, Xinhua reported.

The port is located on the Mediterranean coast of southern Italy and is specialized in transshipment activities.

The U.S. ship has been out-fitted with two hydrolysis units, which will neutralize some 560 metric tonnes of priority chemicals while the vessel is at sea in international waters, the OPCW said.

Trans-loading the chemicals onto the U.S. ship Cape Ray in a port facility is said to greatly improve the safety and security of the operation.

Uzumcu made the announcement in Rome following a hearing in the Italian Parliament on the Syria maritime mission.

During a briefing with journalists, Uzumcu reiterated that the mid-2014 deadline for eliminating Syria's entire chemical arsenal would be met.

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