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.