§ The Countess of Mar
asked Her Majesty's Government:
To what chemicals the two RVD (Residual Vapour Detector) tests gave positive responses following the triggering of the NAIAD (Nerve Agent Immobilised Enzyme Alarm and Detector) alarms on the night of 20th–21st January 1991 during Operation Granby.
§ Lord Henley
My department has no record of an incident taking place on the night of 20–21 January 1991 during Operation Granby. There are, however, records of an incident on 19 January 1991 in the A192WA Jubayl area when CAM (Chemical Agent Monitor) and RVD (Residual Vapour Detector) indicated the presence of blister agent (Mustard). NAIAD (Nerve Agent Immobilised Enzyme Alarm and Detector) did not respond, thus ruling out the presence of nerve agent.
An immediate follow up by Explosive Ordnance Device (EOD) and chemical reconnaissance teams failed to find any evidence for chemical attack which, had it taken place, would have included ground contamination (blister is a persistent agent) and weapon debris.
The identity of the compounds which caused CAM and RVD to respond on 19 January 1991 is therefore not known. Clearly it was not nerve agent since NAIAD did not alarm; neither was it blister since there was no ground contamination. It was assessed that the most likely cause of this incident was a damaged coalition aircraft jettisoning JP4 fuel which is consistent with reports of air activity at the time.