How will a floating dock within the sea facilitate Gaza aid?

WASHINGTON – The United States and its allies are scrambling to construct a posh system that may transport tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza by sea. Nearly two months after President Joe Biden gave the order, U.S. Army and Navy troops are establishing a big floating platform several miles off the Gaza coast that may function a launch pad for deliveries.

But any eventual aid distribution — which could begin as early as May — will depend on an advanced logistics and security plan with many moving parts and details which have not yet been finalized.

The aid is urgently needed because the people of Gaza are getting ready to famine, in accordance with the United Nations. However, there are still widespread safety concerns. And some aid groups say that given the good need, the main target should as an alternative be on pressing Israel to cut back barriers to delivering aid by land.

Building the system is anticipated to cost a minimum of $320 million, the Pentagon said on Monday. This is how it’ll work:


Humanitarian aid that reaches Gaza via the ocean route is delivered by air or sea to Cyprus, an island on the eastern fringe of the Mediterranean.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos said the help can be subject to security checks on the port of Larnaca. Using this one start line addresses Israel's security concerns of checking all cargo to be certain that nothing is loaded onto ships that Hamas could use against Israeli troops.

The review might be rigorous and comprehensive and can include using mobile X-ray machines, in accordance with a Cyprus government official who spoke on condition of anonymity to publicly release details of the safety operation. The process will involve Cypriot customs, Israeli teams, the US and the United Nations Office of Project Services.

An American military official said the US had arrange a coordination cell in Cyprus to work with the federal government there, the US Agency for International Development and other agencies and partners. The group will concentrate on coordinating the gathering and inspection of relief supplies, said the official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity to debate the main points of the operation.


Once the help pallets are inspected, they’re loaded onto ships – mostly merchant ships – and brought about 200 miles to the big floating pier the U.S. military is constructing off the coast of Gaza.

There, the pallets are transferred to trucks, which in turn are loaded onto two varieties of smaller army boats: Logistic Support Vessels (LSVs) and Landing Craft Utility Boats (LCUs). The U.S. military official said the LSVs could hold 15 trucks each, the LCUs about five.

The army boats will then take the trucks from the pier to a floating causeway several miles away, which might be anchored within the beach by Israeli forces.

Since Biden has made it clear that no U.S. forces will set foot in Gaza, the troops doing the development, driving and crewing of the boats might be housed and ate up other ships offshore near the big floating pier .

The British Royal Navy support ship RFA Cardigan Bay will provide accommodation for a whole lot of US sailors and soldiers working on the development of the pier. Another contracted vessel can also be used for housing, but officials haven’t identified it.


The small army boats will head to the two-lane, 550-meter (1,800-foot) causeway.

The US military official said an American army engineering unit had teamed up with an Israeli engineering unit in recent weeks to practice installing the dam and train on an Israeli beach just above the shore. The UK Hydrographic Office has also worked with the US and Israeli militaries to investigate the coastline and prepare for the ultimate installation.

U.S. ships will push the floating causeway into place and push it to shore, where Israeli forces might be able to secure it.

Trucks loaded with the relief pallets drive from the Army boats onto the dam and right down to a secure area on land, where they drop off the supplies, immediately turn around and return to the boats. The trucks will repeat this loop over and once again and might be restricted to this limited route for safety reasons.

They are driven by personnel from one other country, but U.S. officials wouldn’t say which country.


Aid groups will collect the supplies for distribution on land at an Israeli-built port facility southwest of Gaza City. Officials say they initially expect about 90 truckloads of aid per day and that may quickly grow to about 150 per day.

The United Nations is working with USAID to ascertain the logistics center on the beach.

There might be three zones within the port: an Israeli-controlled zone where aid might be dropped off from the pier, one other where aid might be transshipped, and a 3rd where UN-contracted Palestinian drivers will wait. to gather the relief supplies before they pick them up and forward them to distribution points.

But aid groups say this maritime corridor just isn’t enough to fulfill Gaza's needs and should be only one a part of a broader Israeli effort to enhance sustainable, land-based aid deliveries to avert famine.

The groups, the United Nations, the U.S. and other governments have pointed to Israel's aid restrictions and its failure to guard humanitarian staff as reasons for the reduction in food deliveries through land crossings, although they credit Israel with making some improvements of late has.

U.S. envoy to Gaza David Satterfield said last week that only about 200 trucks a day were arriving in Gaza, far fewer than the five hundred that international aid groups say they need.


A key concern is security – each from militants and from the Israeli military, which has been criticized for killing aid staff.

Aid agencies have been rocked by the Israeli airstrike that killed seven World Central Kitchen employees on April 1 as they traveled in clearly marked vehicles on an Israeli-sanctioned delivery mission.

And there has already been a mortar attack by militants on the positioning, reflecting ongoing threats from Hamas, which has said it rejects the presence of all non-Palestinians in Gaza.
U.S. and Israeli officials declined to supply security details. But the U.S. military official said it’ll be way more robust when deliveries begin than it’s now. And there might be a each day assessment of the armed forces' protection needs.

The IDF will provide coastal security, and the U.S. military will provide security for Army and Marine forces offshore.

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