WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. officials say the Obama administration is offering to destroy some of Syria's deadliest chemical weapons in international waters aboard a nearly 700-foot, U.S. government-owned ship.

The plan, still subject to final approval, would involve destroying the chemical components, likely in the Mediterranean Sea, with Navy warships patrolling nearby. This approach would avoid the diplomatic, environmental and security problems posed by disposing the weapons on any nation's soil.

The officials who discussed the plan spoke on condition of anonymity Wednesday because they were not authorized to talk about it publicly.

The ship to be used is the MV Cape Ray, a Virginia-based ship owned by the Transportation Department. It would destroy Syria's chemical weapons using a process developed by the Pentagon but never used in an actual operation.