US aid pier off Gaza to be temporarily removed due to bad weather

by IANS |

Washington, June 15 (IANS/DPA) Predicted high waves and stormy seas have prompted the US to temporarily remove a pier it set up to provide humanitarian supplies to the Gaza Strip.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) said the pier would be towed to the southern Israeli port of Ashdod, about 30 kilometres away.

"The safety of our service members is a top priority, and temporarily relocating the pier will prevent structural damage caused by the heightened sea state," the command said in a post on X.

"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."

It would be re-anchored to the coast of Gaza as soon as the weather allowed, it added.

"Since May 17, over 3,500 metric tons have been delivered through the maritime corridor for onward delivery by humanitarian organisations," the command said.

The pier was damaged by bad weather in May, shortly after its completion. Due to strong waves, four US military ships anchored in the area broke free from their moorings.

The temporary harbour is serving as a hub for the delivery of desperately needed aid supplies as Gaza itself has no harbour deep enough for larger cargo vessels.

Cargo ships bring aid supplies from Cyprus to a floating platform a few kilometres off the coast of the Gaza Strip. The goods are then loaded onto smaller ships that can dock at the temporary pier, where their cargoes are transferred to lorries to be distributed across the territory.

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