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Temporary floating pier for Gaza aid completed, will move into position once weather lets up: Pentagon

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May 8, 2024

Both sections of the temporary floating pier intended to be placed off the coast of Gaza Strip for the delivery of humanitarian aid have been completed, though weather and sea conditions are preventing delivery of the parts to the embattled region, Pentagon officials tell Fox News.

Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said during a press briefing on Tuesday that the U.S. Military completed the offshore construction of the Trident Pier section, or the causeway, which is the component that will eventually be anchored to the Gaza shore.

The second element of the project, the floating pier section, has also been completed.

“So, as of today, the construction of the two portions of the JLOTS [Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore], the floating pier and the Trident pier are complete and awaiting final movement offshore,” Singh said. “As you know, late last week, CENTCOM [U.S. Central Command] temporarily paused moving the floating pier and Trident pier toward the vicinity of Gaza due to sea state conditions. Today, there are still forecasted high winds and high sea swells, which are causing unsafe conditions for the JLOTS [Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore] components to be moved.”

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The components are still sitting at the Port of Ashdod, and CENTCOM “stands by” to relocate the pier sections to Gaza, Singh added.

Once off the coast of Gaza, the U.S. military and USAID will work together to deliver humanitarian assistance using military support vessels and trucks.

Singh could not provide an exact date for when the pier would be maneuvered into place, mainly because of the weather and security conditions.

“As CENTCOM stands by to move the pier into position in the near future, and again, in partnership with USAID, we’re loading humanitarian aid onto the MV Sagamore, which is currently in Cyprus,” she said. “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.”

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The unloading of the aid will be, as she called it, a “crawl, walk, run scenario.”

Once fully operational, 150 trucks will be available to move aid into Gaza. At first, though, a small number of trucks will be used to make sure the distribution system works.

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Last week, U.S. Central Command posted photographs on X of the pier under construction by U.S. soldiers in the Mediterranean Sea, saying that the hulking metal platform “will support USAID and other humanitarian partners who will receive and deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.”

The Pentagon has said the estimated cost would nearly double the original estimate of $180 million. It also said the project will only be in use temporarily, for a period of three months.

The pier will be able to process up to two million meals a day for the people in Gaza, U.S. Central Command said.

Ruth Marks Eglash of Fox News contributed to this report.

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