The Maritime Administration (MARAD) says it is proud to support the international effort to destroy Syrian chemical weapons and agents by providing the M/V CAPE RAY and its all-volunteer U.S. Merchant Marine crew to support this critical mission.
One of MARAD’s 46 Ready Reserve Force (RRF) ships that stand ready to provide rapid movement of equipment and supplies during times of national and humanitarian emergencies, this vessel and its crew illustrate the important contribution our RRF ships and mariners make in supporting U.S. national and economic security.
Since 1775, the U.S. Merchant Marine has proudly answered when and where called upon, and the crew of the CAPE RAY will continue its work to ensure both protection of the environment and all those aboard."
In associated news, Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby also apprised:
"This morning, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel called Navy Captain Rich Dromerhauser aboard the U.S. ship MV Cape Ray to congratulate the ship's crew on finishing their unprecedented work of neutralizing, at sea, the most dangerous chemicals in Syria's declared stockpile. The secretary said that by ridding the world of these materials, they - as part of an ongoing international effort to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons arsenal - have helped make an important and enduring contribution to global security."
Secretary Hagel expressed his gratitude for the crew's service, dedication, and expertise, noting that with the world watching, they performed flawlessly every step of the way - despite a very long deployment, and a complex operation that required careful coordination with our international partners. The secretary commended the crew for conducting every aspect of the mission in a highly professional manner, with strict adherence to safety and with no impact to the surrounding environment, and said that they should all be very proud of what they've accomplished to help reduce the threat posed by chemical weapons.
Today's milestone would not have been possible without the contributions of our many international partners, or the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which provided the funding to carry out these operations. While the international community's work to completely eliminate Syria's chemical weapons program is not yet finished, the secretary believes this is a clear demonstration of what can be achieved when diplomacy is backed by a willingness to use military force.
The United States will remain vigilant in our efforts to deter future use of chemicals as weapons, and in ensuring that all questions about the extent of Assad's chemical weapons program are answered in full."