The American ship Cape Ray departed today (3/7) from Italy to the international waters southwest of Crete, to destroy the chemical weapons of Syria within 60 days, through the hydrolysis process onboard. Already concerns have been raised by the residents of Crete, but also from environmental groups about potential risks of the project. In an interview for tvxs, journalist George Sahinis speaks about a "conspiracy of silence on the subject" and a "game of millions". And, while Greece ignores the danger, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) refers to US authorities. Finally, Sahinis points that this is an "experiment" that should not be conducted in a closed sea like the Mediterranean.
Key parts from the interview of George Sahinis to the tvxs website
The issue has been known by a BBC reference. Until then, no one knew that these decisions were taken last November. Since that time, all media in Crete, focused on the fact that for the first time a hydrolysis process is conducted onboard in Mediterranean. Some MPs and MEPs began to ask questions, but the answers were always vague, giving, however, the impression that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which has been awarded with the Nobel prize, has the responsibility for the final decisions. There was no official announcement from Greece ever.
In February, the first questions imposed to the organisation, which had not been answered until four days ago. What came out just now, is that the only responsibility of the Organisation was to supervise the reloading of weapons from Syria and that the Americans have the final responsibility!
According to our information, we understand that the Mediterranean is used by the US because the method of hydrolysis on board will be conducted for the first time and will be essentially an experiment. Additionally, scientists admit that they don't know the consequences to the 35 year old ship by the chemical substances. Cape Ray will be accompanied by navy forces from Greece, Turkey and Germany to protect it from a terrorist attack.
There are indeed some dangers and scientists have set specific technical matters. The OPCW, although claimed that will inform the crew and the scientists of the American ship, never did. The most impressive is that, answering some questions, the organisation ignores whether the Americans made a study for environmental implications.
Nobody can ensure us that even if there is a leakage or something goes wrong it will be detected because the observers who say that they will be on board are accountable to the Americans who are left to carry the complete responsibility of the project. There is no other independent body, no country - not even the EU - which has its own observers although the Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ev. Venizelos, has ensured that there will be two Greek experts on board.
In case of an accident, we cannot receive reliable information. But above all, scientists say that in such a small space, in such a ship where the strength of the system has been tested only in theory, especially with chemicals of unknown origin to be hydrolyzed, no one knows the potential reactions.
And yet there is no provision in case of an accident or leakage. The Americans insist that there will be no accident. How do you ensure this when scientists have said that the ship, in a ripple over 3.5 beaufort, cannot put forward the hydrolysis procedures? You need to go to a safe port. The Americans say that such a port is somewhere in Croatia. So, the ship should amid rough seas to pass through the territorial waters of Greece, Italy and Albania to get to Croatia with the danger of a leakage.
The Mediterranean was chosen because in all other states the environmental conditions and laws are very strict. Activists and environmental organizations are very powerful and have achieved major convictions.
The US navy will conduct a dangerous experiment far from the American coasts. In case that this will succeed, the products from the hydrolysis could be used in pharmaceutical industry, or to the production of pesticides. It's a big business. However, the society of Crete is probably the only one reacted through significant mobilizations like the one in Arkadi. Mobilizations will be continued outside the American base of Souda, on Saturday.