US-built Pier in Gaza to Be Temporarily Removed, Repaired After Being Damaged

US-built Pier in Gaza to Be Temporarily Removed, Repaired After Being Damaged
(Top) The newly completed pier on the Gaza Strip on May 18, 2024. (Bottom) The remaining section of the temporary pier on May 29, 2024. (Satellite images ©2024 Maxar Technologies via AP)

A temporary maritime pier built by the United States to deliver aid to Gaza has been damaged by heavy seas and will need to be repaired, according to the Pentagon.

The pier—which was constructed off Gaza’s coast for an estimated $320 million—will be temporarily removed after a part of the structure broke off, deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh said at a May 28 press conference.

The latest incident occurred on May 28 amid “high sea states and a North African weather system” that caused a portion of the Trident Pier to detach, causing damage, according to the Pentagon.

As a result, the pier will need to be rebuilt and repaired, Ms. Singh said.

Over the next two days, U.S. forces will remove it from its anchored position on the coast and tow it back to the Israeli coastal city of Ashdod, where U.S. Central Command will begin repairs.

The rebuilding and repairing of the pier will take “at least over a week,” Ms. Singh said, noting that once they have finished, the pier will need to be anchored back to the coast in Gaza.

The damage to the bridge followed an incident on May 25 in which heavy seas caused four U.S. Army boats to break free from their anchors and become beached, according to the Pentagon.

‘Unfortunate Confluence of Weather Storms’

The four boats are part of U.S. Central Command’s Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability and are being used to stabilize the pier, according to the Pentagon. They broke free after losing power.

So far, only one of those beached vessels has been recovered, officials said. The second vessel is expected to be recovered near Ashkelon, Israel, within the next 24 hours; the remaining two vessels that were beached near the pier are expected to be recovered in the next 48 hours.

“From when it was operational, it was working, and we just had sort of an unfortunate confluence of weather storms that made it inoperable for a bit,” Ms. Singh said. “Hopefully, just a little over a week, we should be back up and running.”

The temporary floating maritime pier in Gaza was initially announced by President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address in March, at a time when experts warned of a worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, which was previously home to more than 2 million people.

It began operating two weeks ago, and the Pentagon stated that more than 1,000 metric tons of aid have been delivered from the pier to the ground and into the hands of Palestinians by humanitarian organizations since then.

Pier ‘Highly Valuable’ in Delivering Aid

However, the pier has also been plagued with issues, including an alleged “mortar attack” in April that caused “minimal damage in the vicinity of the marshaling yard area” to be used in conjunction with the pier.

Last week, three U.S. troops suffered noncombat injuries while helping to build the pier, with one in critical condition at an Israeli hospital, according to the Pentagon.

The pier’s construction has also come under fire from Republican lawmakers in the United States amid safety concerns for U.S. soldiers, although the Pentagon has stressed that there will be no American boots on the ground in Gaza.

Speaking during the May 28 press conference, Ms. Singh told reporters that the pier has proven to be “highly valuable” in delivering aid to the people of Gaza.

“Thus, upon completion of the pier repair and reassembly, the intention is to re-anchor the temporary pier to the coast of Gaza and resume humanitarian aid to the people who need it most,” she said. “We believe that, given the time of year, we will be able to re-anchor this pier; and it will be able to be operational; and, hopefully, weather conditions won’t hinder it anymore.”

From The Epoch Times

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