The UK Royal Navy’s Daring-class air-defence destroyer HMS Diamond has embarked on the final phase of Operation RECSYR, which is the task group offering maritime force protection to the Danish merchant vessel that is shipping chemical weapons materials from Syria.
The transportation of chemical weapons, which comes four months after the commissioning of HMS Diamond for the task, is being carried out by a maritime collaboration between Danish, Norwegian, British, Russian and Chinese warships.
The move comes nine months after the US and Russia signed a pact to destroy Syria’s chemical weapons stockpile.
UK Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said that the removal of Syria’s declared chemical stockpile represents a substantial achievement by the international community, and added that 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," Hammond said.
HMS Diamond 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."
During its deployment phase from 6 January, the Type 45 destroyer offered protection not only to the merchant ship carrying the chemical substances, but also to the wider task group.
As part of the next phase of RECSYR, the destroyer will join a Danish warship and guide the merchant craft to Gioia Tauro in Italy, where the hydrolysis procedure will start on a US military ship.
Image: Vessels involved in Operation RECSYR. Photo: courtesy of the Royal Navy.