Europe

Denmark, Norway prepare ships for Syria mission

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Norway and Denmark are providing one cargo ship and one warship each to pick up Syria's most dangerous chemical weapons, officials said Thursday.

Danish navy spokesman Mikael Anker Jensen Bil said Thursday the Danish contribution consists of the Ark Futura, a privately-owned container ship, and the frigate HDMS Esbern Snare. Denmark's parliament is expected to formally approve the mission on Dec. 19.

Norway is sending frigate HNOMS Helge Ingstad and a transport vessel that hasn't been identified. "The Norwegian ship owner doesn't want any publicity now," said Haakon Svane, head of contingency planning at the Norwegian Shipowners' Association. "This is for obvious security reasons. They prefer to keep a low profile at this point."

Military spokesman Eskil Sivertsen said the Norwegian ships don't need parliamentary approval. The Scandinavian flotilla is supposed to carry the chemicals from Syria to a yet-to-be determined port where they would be transferred to a U.S. ship for destruction at sea, according to plans by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

OPCW chief Ahmet Uzumcu said Thursday he expected the port to be decided soon. "There are some contacts under way. Clearly in a few days or a week we will know where this ship will go," Uzumcu told reporters during a visit to Stockholm.

Karl Ritter in Stockholm contributed to this report.

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