US completes building humanitarian pier off Gaza coast

ustroops gaza AP

The U.S. military has finished building a temporary pier off the coast of Gaza to deliver humanitarian aid, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

“As of today, the U.S. military has completed the off-shore construction of the Trident pier section, or the causeway, which is the component that will eventually be anchored to the Gaza shore,” deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters.

The project, known as the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) capability, consists of two pieces, a floating pier where ships can unload aid — completed last week — and a causeway section meant to be attached to the Gaza coast, on which trucks can drive aid dropped off by the ships to the mainland.

The two portions of JLOTS “are complete and awaiting final movement offshore,” Singh said. She added that bad weather has prevented the U.S. military from doing so.

“Today there are still forecasted high winds and high sea swells, which are causing unsafe conditions for the JLOTS components to be moved, so the pier sections and military vessels involved in its construction are still positioned at the Port of Ashdod” in Israel, she said.

The completion of JLOTS in the Mediterranean Sea comes as humanitarian conditions in Gaza grow worse by the day, with the United Nations and humanitarian organizations in the territory warning that the region has fallen into famine due to a severe lack of access to food and medical supplies. 

The situation is expected to become more dire with Israel’s Tuesday military takeover of the Palestinian side of the Rafah crossing, the sole entry point for humanitarian aid between Gaza and Egypt.

Despite the pier not being in position, Singh said that the U.S. is loading aid onto the ship MV Sagamore, currently in Cyprus but meant to be the first vessel to transport the assistance from there to the pier.

“The Sagamore is a cargo vessel that will use the JLOTS system, and will make trips between Cyprus and the offshore floating pier as USAID and other partners collect aid from around the world,” Singh noted.

She added that defense officials hope to have JLOTS in position “later this week.” 

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