NewsU.S. Navy Ship Sets Sail to Build Temporary Port for Gaza Aid

U.S. Navy Ship Sets Sail to Build Temporary Port for Gaza Aid

President of the USA Joe Biden
President of the USA Joe Biden
Images source: © Getty Images | Anadolu
7:41 AM EDT, March 10, 2024

A U.S. military supply ship equipped to construct a temporary loading ramp off the coast of the Gaza Strip has set sail from a military base in Virginia. As announced by the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), its mission is to unload humanitarian aid for the local population by sea.

The ship, named "Gen. Frank S. Besson," departed from the Langley-Eustis base in Virginia shortly after President Biden announced a U.S.-led initiative to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza via sea, CENTCOM highlighted in their statement.

Building a Port in the Gaza Strip

In his State of the Union address, President Biden detailed the plan to deliver humanitarian assistance. This announcement comes against a backdrop of repeated warnings from the UN about the looming risk of famine affecting 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza.

The equipment onboard is designed to construct a floating loading ramp, enabling sea deliveries of aid. This method is necessitated by the difficulties and dangers associated with land and air deliveries, as emphasized by CENTCOM. The necessity for such a ramp stems from Gaza's lack of suitable port infrastructure. The U.S. plans to utilize Cyprus as an intermediary for inspecting aid shipments, in cooperation with Israeli officials, to avoid inspections in Gaza itself.

President Biden Speaks on the Middle East Situation

President Biden declared on Thursday his directive for the military to embark on this "exceptional mission" to establish a port in Gaza through collaboration with other nations and organizations. This initiative aims to forge a maritime route for shipping humanitarian aid directly to the Gaza Strip.

Administration officials have clarified that building the temporary port will not necessitate American military presence in Gaza territory but will instead occur close to its shore.

"I want to make this clear to the leaders of Israel: humanitarian aid must not be marginalized or used as a bargaining chip. The protection and salvation of innocent lives should always be paramount. Looking forward, the enduring resolution lies in a two-state solution," stated the President of the USA.

The ruling party in the Gaza Strip, Hamas, initiated an armed conflict with Israel on October 7, 2023, leading to approximately 1,200 deaths, predominantly among civilians, and about 240 abductions. In response, Israeli retaliatory operations have resulted in over 30,000 Palestinian casualties. The conflict has displaced the vast majority of Gaza's population, with over 2 million people forced to leave their homes. The UN reports that 2.2 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip are now facing the threat of famine.

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