US Temporarily Moves Gaza Aid Pier Due to Rough Seas

US Temporarily Moves Gaza Aid Pier Due to Rough Seas
Trucks loaded with humanitarian aid from the United Arab Emirates and the United States Agency for International Development cross the Trident Pier before arriving on the beach on the Gaza Strip on May 17, 2024. (Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army via AP)

Rough seas have forced the temporary relocation of the U.S.-constructed maritime pier intended to funnel food and supplies to people in war-torn Gaza.

The U.S. military announced on Friday that the pier and causeway system will be removed from its anchor towed back to Ashdod, Israel, in anticipation of high seas.

The pier has been a crucial gateway for humanitarian aid into war-torn Gaza, delivering thousands of metric tons of supplies. Since completion on May 17, however, it has hit various several logistical snags.

U.S. Central Command says it plans to re-anchor the floating structure once the sea has calmed.

“The decision to temporarily relocate the pier is not made lightly but is necessary to ensure the temporary pier can continue to deliver aid in the future,” CENTCOM said in a statement on Friday.

This is the second time in just a few weeks that the pier and causeway system, known as Joint Logistics over the Shore (JLOTS), has had to be moved back to Ashdod.

Last month, after just five days of operation, rough seas severely damaged the floating pier and ripped four U.S. Army vessels from their moorings, pushing them onto Israeli shores. The pier itself was damaged in the May 25 storm and was towed to Ashdod for week-long repairs.

The pier later returned to its position off the Gaza coast, and operations recommenced last Saturday. This enabled around 30 truckloads of food to be offloaded from U.S. naval vessels, according to the U.N. Agency for International Development. Aid workers say this is a 20th of what is needed each day to contain famine.

However, rough seas once again halted activities on Sunday and Monday.

The U.N. World Food Program, a key partner with the United States in delivering aid via the sea corridor, halted operations over the weekend following Israeli military operations in Gaza.

Cindy McCain, WFP executive director, told CBS on June 9 that she was concerned about the safety of their staff after two of its warehouses were “rocketed” and one of its staff was injured.

“We’ve stepped back just for the moment … to make sure that we’re on safe terms and on safe ground before we restart,” she said.

The food program is operational elsewhere in Gaza.

The WFP warehouses were damaged during an Israeli military operation to free four hostages. Israeli Defense Force (IDF) Spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said last Saturday that its forces came under intense fire during the rescue operation.

The IDF admitted to causing civilian casualties during the rescue operation, attributing the responsibility to the Hamas terrorist group for taking hostages and engaging in combat within densely populated civilian areas.

Rear Adm. Hagari said the IDF knew of “under 100” Palestinian casualties. He added: “I don’t know how many of them are terrorists.”

The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry claimed that 210 Palestinians were killed and more than 400 were injured, accusing the Israeli military of a “massacre.” The Gaza Health Ministry does not distinguish between civilians and terrorists, and The Epoch Times cannot verify its claims.

From The Epoch Times