The Royal Navy Type 23 frigate HMS Montrose is going to join Danish, Norwegian, Russian and Chinese warships in the eastern Mediterranean within the framework of the international operation to remove chemical weapons from Syria.
The frigate will provide maritime force protection to the Danish and Norwegian merchant vessels that will transport industrial-grade chemicals out of Syria for destruction.
Commander James Parkin, the commanding officer of HMS Montrose, said:
“My ship’s company are well-trained, well-motivated and well-equipped; all of us are looking forward to working for our Danish operational commander and alongside other allies in assisting the United Nations in their efforts to remove chemicals from Syria.”
The operation has already started at the beginning of January, with the first materials transported to the port of Latakia, from where they were loaded onto a Danish commercial vessel, Aljazeera cited the UN and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as saying on January 7.
Up to 700 tons of chemical agents will be loaded onto U.S. Maritime Administration’s cargo ship MV Cape Ray in waters off Italy, after which the cargo ship will head out to an undisclosed location in the Mediterranean to start neutralizing the chemical agents. The task is said to last 45 to 90 days, depending on weather conditions.
MV Cape Ray returned last week from final sea trials conducted in preparation for its upcoming mission to destroy Syrian chemical weapons.
During the sea trials, the crew and the Field-Deployable Hydrolysis System operators evaluated the ship and the system at various sea states, Pentagon Spokesman Army Col. Steve Warren said.
Naval Today Staff, January 24, 2014; Image: UK Navy