U.S. Ship Leaves Virginia to Help Build Gaza Pier

U.S. ship departs Virginia to aid in Gaza pier construction

An American ship, the MV Roy P. Benavidez, departed from Virginia on Thursday to assist in constructing a temporary pier aimed at facilitating the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Loaded with heavy equipment and materials, the ship set sail from Newport News to deliver components for the U.S. Army-led project.

The Army’s 7th Transportation Brigade will oversee the construction of the pier in the Mediterranean Sea, employing a critical capability known as Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) to ensure cargo distribution in the absence of a usable pier.

According to Lt. Gen. John Sullivan, deputy commander of U.S. Transportation Command, JLOTS enables the creation of piers where needed, aiding areas with isolated populations lacking essential supplies like food and water. The Benavidez, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation Maritime Administration’s Ready Reserve Fleet, will support four Army vessels already deployed for the mission earlier in the month.

U.S. Ship Leaves Virginia to Help Build Gaza Pier
U.S. Ship Leaves Virginia to Help Build Gaza Pier (Credits: Military Times)

Pentagon press secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder stated that the pier is expected to be operational within 60 days of President Joe Biden’s announcement of the project during his State of the Union address. Biden emphasized the need for Israel to allow more aid into Gaza and ensure the safety of humanitarian workers amid escalating tensions following Hamas attacks in October.

Under mounting pressure to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Biden’s administration has continued to airdrop aid into Palestine, with over 204,000 meals, 48,000 bottles of water, and more than 5,000 pounds of food items delivered since March 2 by U.S. Central Command. Before joining the Ready Reserve Fleet, the MV Roy P. Benavidez served as a Bob Hope-class roll-on, roll-off cargo ship in the U.S. Navy.

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