Royal Navy ship joins international effort to build pier for aid delivery into Gaza

Topic: Fighting armsRoyal Auxiliary Fleet Storyline: RFA Cardigan Bay

Royal Navy support ship RFA Cardigan Bay is sailing from Cyprus to provide support to an international effort to build a temporary pier to allow delivery of humanitarian aid directly from the sea into Gaza.

US ships and personnel have already begun construction of the temporary floating pier as part of ongoing work to significantly expand the delivery of lifesaving aid into Gaza.

The Royal Fleet Auxiliary landing ship will provide accommodation for hundreds of US sailors and soldiers working to establish the pier. The pier will initially facilitate the delivery of 90 truckloads of international aid into Gaza and scale to up to 150 truckloads once fully operational, according to US estimates.

The multinational maritime corridor initiative will see tens of thousands of tonnes of aid pre-screened in Cyprus and delivered directly to Gaza via the temporary pier being constructed off the coast or via Ashdod Port, which Israel has said it will open.

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said: “It is critical we establish more routes for vital humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza and the UK continues to take a leading role in the delivery of support in coordination with the US and our international allies and partners. 

“The crew of RFA Cardigan Bay are central to the UK’s contribution to the multinational plan to greatly expand the flow of aid into Gaza. 

“This will complement the priority of getting more aid in via land routes and Ashdod port in Israel, by enabling tens of thousands of tonnes to be delivered directly from the sea onto the beach.” 

Specialist British military planning teams have been embedded with the US operational HQ in Tampa, Florida, as well as in Cyprus for several weeks to jointly develop the safest and most effective maritime route. 

The UK Hydrographic Office has also shared analysis of the Gazan shore with US planners to develop the pier.

Supporting the Jordanian humanitarian land corridor from Amman into Gaza and in partnership with the World Food Programme, the UK’s largest delivery of aid crossed the border on 13 March which saw more than 2,000 tonnes of food aid being distributed on the ground to families in need. Land deliveries will now be scaled up with the opening of the Erez crossing, which the UK wants to see reopened permanently.

The UK government is also doing everything possible to get more aid into Gaza by land and air. We trebled our humanitarian funding to the OPTs last financial year, delivering over £100 million of vital medical, shelter, nutrition and water/sanitation support. In recent weeks, the Royal Air Force has conducted nine airdrops along the coastline of Gaza, most recently on Thursday - safely delivering more than 85 tonnes of food supplies, including water and flour.