US pier constructed off Gaza has broken apart

us pier constructed off gaza has broken apart

This handout image shows a temporary pier, part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore capability, that will enable the maritime delivery of international humanitarian aid to the United Nations in Gaza for distribution to Palestinian people in need.

The temporary pier constructed by the US military to transport aid into Gaza broke apart in heavy seas on Sunday in a major blow to the American-led effort to create a maritime corridor for humanitarian supplies into the war-torn enclave, according to four US officials.

Part of the pier, which consists of a narrow causeway to drive aid into Gaza and a wider parking area to drop off supplies transported by ship, disconnected on Sunday, the officials said. The parking area will have to be reconnected to the causeway before the pier can be used again.

The setback came one day after heavy seas forced two small US Army vessels to beach in Israel, according to US Central Command, while another two vessels broke free of their moorings and were anchored near the pier.

The effort to reassemble the causeway and connect it once again to the parking area will resume when sea conditions allow, officials said.

The pier, which cost $320 million, had only begun operating on May 17 when heavy seas forced the maritime shipments to stop one week later on May 24, two days before part of the pier disconnected. It is unclear when shipments will resume.

The temporary pier, called the Joint Logistics Over the Shore (JLOTS), requires very good sea conditions to operate. CNN reported previously that JLOTS can only be operated safely in a maximum of 3-foot waves and winds less than approximately 15 miles per hour.

Heavier sea conditions delayed the deployment of the pier for several weeks, as the system sat docked in the Israeli port of Ashdod waiting for favorable conditions.

The US has stressed that the temporary pier is only meant to augment humanitarian shipments going through the land crossings between Israel and Gaza.

On Thursday, Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, deputy commander of US Central Command, said 820 metric tons of aid had been delivered through the pier to the Gaza beach, where the United Nations was responsible for distributing it to the Palestinian population.

Daniel Dieckhaus, the director of USAID’s Levant Response Management Team, told reporters Thursday that there were “thousands and thousands of tons” of aid waiting in Cyprus to be delivered through the maritime corridor. But those shipments are now paused with the temporary pier inoperable.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

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