BALA CYNWYD, Pa., Sept. 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Keystone Shipping Co. was recognized today by the US Department of Transportation's Maritime Administration for its role in an unprecedented and ultimately successful mission to neutralize Syria's chemical material. The ceremony took place today in Portsmouth, VA, where the CAPE RAY, under Keystone's operation, returned following this successful mission.
"Keystone Shipping Co. and its affiliates have been a proud partner of the United States Government for more than 90 years," stated Donald Kurz, President of Keystone Shipping Co. "During times of war and peace, during missions of mercy and rescue, Keystone has always answered the call to serve."
In late November 2013, after rigorous vetting, Keystone Shipping and the Motor Vessel CAPE RAY were chosen by Military Sealift Command, the United States Transportation Command (TRANSCOM), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), Edgewood (Md.) Chemical Biological Center (ECBC) and US Maritime Administration to serve as a mobile platform to neutralize various chemical material removed from Syria. Over the course of the following two months, the aforementioned organizations and Keystone Shipping Co. made an intensive and successful effort to safely outfit special neutralization equipment onboard CAPE RAY led by the Master, Captain Rick Jordan.
The "keystone" of the neutralization efforts onboard CAPE RAY were two Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems (FDHS), which were installed on the main trailer deck. The FDHS renders potentially lethal bulk chemical material less harmful (similar to the toxicity of standard industrial chemicals) by a chemistry process which irreversibly alters the lethal agents' molecular composition.
Upon loading the bulk chemical materials in Italy, the CAPE RAY was put to sea and destroyed the material on board in international waters. The effluent (or byproduct) was stored onboard until all neutralization was complete and then was discharged as industrial waste to receiving facilities. Upon completion of final discharge, the CAPE RAY was "scrubbed" and then returned to home port of Portsmouth, VA for the demobilization of the FDHS system on board.
"I could not be more proud of the crew of the CAPE RAY, the entire Keystone Shipping team, and all the many people who made this mission a success," concluded Mr. Kurz. "They accomplished something no one had ever tried: they destroyed, at sea, one of the world's largest stockpiles of chemical weapons. In doing so, they helped make the world a little safer, and we are all grateful for their service."
Founded in 1909, Keystone Shipping Co. is one of the largest American flag operators specializing in the safe, reliable and efficient transportation of bulk cargo, serving both international and U.S. coastwise trade.
Keystone Shipping Co.
SOURCE Keystone Shipping Co.