UK’s 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.

According to the Royal Navy, 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 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.

UK’s Defence Secretary Grant Shapps said that it is “critical” to establish more routes for vital humanitarian aid to reach the people of Gaza. “The UK continues to take a leading role in the delivery of support in coordination with the US and our international allies and partners”, he added.

He described the crew of RFA Cardigan Bay as “central” to the UK’s contribution to the multinational plan to greatly expand the flow of aid into Gaza. 

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. 

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

According to the BBC, the option of deploying British soldiers inside the Gaza Strip to drive the trucks that will be unloaded with humanitarian aid is also on the table – although no such decision has yet been taken

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