The Portsmouth-based Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond has begun the final phase of Operation Recsyr, the ‘REmoval of chemical weapons from SYRia’, and has spent much of her time providing protection to the merchant vessels tasked with transporting the chemical substances from Syria.
Her state-of-the-art Sea Viper missile system provides protection not only for the merchant vessel carrying the chemical substances but also for the task group as a whole.
The final shipment of chemical substances was removed from Syria on Monday 23 June by a maritime partnership of Danish, Norwegian, UK, Russian and Chinese warships. It marks the culmination of the diplomatic efforts to eliminate chemical weapons from the Syrian regime and the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2118, which calls for the quick destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons programme.
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said: “The removal of Syria’s declared chemical stockpile represents a substantial achievement by the international community and the British public can be proud of the role played by the crew of HMS Diamond and the Royal Navy.
“The use of chemical weapons is abhorrent and it is a hugely positive development that these declared materials have been removed from Syria and will be destroyed, putting them beyond the reach of the Assad regime and substantially reducing his ability to attack his own people.”
The next phase of Operation Recsyr will see HMS Diamond, along with a Danish warship, escort the merchant vessel to Gioia Tauro in Italy. This will allow the subsequent hydrolysis process to begin on board a US military vessel.
Diamond’s commanding officer, Commander Andy Ingham, said: “HMS Diamond is in the privileged position of being able to contribute, in such a demonstrable way, to the United Nations efforts to remove chemical weapons from the Syrian regime. My highly trained ship’s company have worked hard throughout these past months to maintain operational focus.”
Press Release, June 25, 2014; Image: UK Government