A ROYAL Navy officer from Sunderland is helping to remove chemical weapons from Syria.
Lieutenant Michael Johnson, 25, from Seaburn, is part of the international operation as an Officer of the Watch on Type 45 destroyer HMS Diamond.
The vessel is a member of the Danish-led Task Group providing protection to merchant ships as part of Operation RECSYR – an acronym that stands for Removal of Chemical Weapons from Syria.
Lt Johnson, a former Monkwearmouth School pupil, said: “It is a privilege to be a part of Op RECSYR, knowing that we are making a positive contribution to the removal of chemical weapons from Syria and helping to improve security in the region.”
The Sunderland supporter recently took part in training at NATO’s Maritime Interdiction Operations Training Centre in Souda Bay, Crete, alongside Greek Special Forces.
As one of his duties, he leads its boarding teams as they inspect vessels and works alongside other nationalities. Lt Johnson studied security studies at Hull University before a defence-related internship in Parliament for MP Adam Holloway.
He joined the Royal Navy in 2010 and has been deployed to the Falkland Islands and Antarctica, taken part in operations off Libya in 2012, been on Maritime Security Operations in the Gulf and provided counter-piracy support to merchant vessels in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.