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Temporary ‘trident’ pier may not return to Gaza coast, per Pentagon

"The pier could be floated back to Gaza again if the commander makes that determination based on the sea state," a U.S. Department of Defense spokeswoman said.

A U.S. Army central soldier directs traffic across the Trident Pier, and onto the U.S. Army vessel LSV-1, June 22, 2024. Credit: Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army photo.
A U.S. Army central soldier directs traffic across the Trident Pier, and onto the U.S. Army vessel LSV-1, June 22, 2024. Credit: Staff Sgt. Malcolm Cohens-Ashley/U.S. Army photo.

The temporary “trident” pier, also called the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, that Washington has used to deliver humanitarian aid into Gaza may not return to the coast, the U.S. Department of Defense said in a press briefing last week.

U.S. Central Command decided to remove the pier and tow it to Ashdod “due to high sea states expected this weekend,” Sabrina Singh, the deputy Pentagon press secretary, told reporters on Friday.

“As always, the safety of our service members is a top priority, and temporarily relocating the pier will prevent potential structural damage that could be caused by the heightened sea state,” Singh said. “U.S. Central Command will continue to provide updates on the status of the temporary pier, as will we from this podium.”

The Pentagon suggested that it is unclear if, or when, the pier would be re-anchored to the Gazan coast.

“The pier could be floated back to Gaza again if the commander makes that determination based on the sea state,” the Pentagon said.

Singh told reporters that CENTCOM delivered more than 10 million pounds of aid into Gaza in the past seven days. “For historical context, following the devastating tsunami in 2011, DOD delivered about 3 million pounds of aid to Japan over approximately two months,” she said.

“So just again for context, in the last week, the temporary pier alone deliver—triple—almost tripled that volume,” she said. “Additionally, the pier provided the second-highest volume of aid from any entry point into Gaza this past week.”

U.S. Central Command helped deliver about 19.4 million pounds of aid via the temporary pier since May 17, she said.

Sabrina Singh
Deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh conducts a press briefing at the Pentagon on June 28, 2024. Credit: U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jack Sanders/U.S. Department of Defense.

‘It is meant to be temporary’

Singh was asked about reports that the pier wouldn’t return to the Gazan coast “because of the backlog in shipments.”

“I wouldn’t say that’s correct in terms of the backlog of shipments,” she said. “There is a need for more aid. I think what you’re referring to is in Cyprus. We do need more aid to come into Cyprus.”

“We are pretty close to full on the marshaling yard in terms of how much aid is there,” she added. “As I mentioned at the top, this pier has provided the second most volume of aid over all the other crossings in Gaza, so we’ve certainly seen its capability. We’ve seen the importance of what it can do.”

“As high sea states are impacting the operability of the pier, that’s why it’s being removed. When the commander decides that it is the right time to reinstall that pier, we’ll keep you updated on that,” she added.

“So it may not go back?” she was asked.

“As of right now, the intention is to continue to get aid into Gaza by any means necessary. That includes the pier, airdrops and, of course, as we’ve always said with the pier, it is meant to be temporary,” Singh said. “It is not the long-term solution or solve for land routes. We know that’s the most effective way in, but that’s really a decision that the commander will make as we continue to evaluate the high sea states.”

“But I don’t have a date of when the pier would be reinstalled,” she said.

“You don’t have a date?” a reporter asked.

“I don’t right now. The commander will continue to assess the sea states over the weekend. That could lead into next week,” she said. “So we’re going to continue to monitor the environmental and weather factors, and once we have a better update, we’ll certainly provide that.”

She added that “if there’s not enough room on the marshaling yard, then it doesn’t make sense to put our men and women out there when there’s nothing to move.”

“There is still room. I don’t want to give the impression that it’s at capacity. It is certainly full, but we do need to see that marshaling yard open up to allow for aid groups to continue that distribution so that we can get more aid in as we get it from Cyprus,” she said.

“Six weeks ago today, the pier began operating, if my math is right, and it’s been down for roughly two and a half weeks. Has the pier lived up to its expectations?” a reporter asked.

“I would say it certainly has,” Singh said. “I mean, just it might have been operating for, you know, six weeks, and during that time, yes, we have had periods of time where we’ve had to pull it offline cause of weather, we’ve had periods of time where we’ve had to do repairs.”

“But as I mentioned in my topper, since May 17, we’ve had over 19 million pounds of aid delivered to the shore in Gaza,” she said. “That is, I’d say, a great success. And you have to remember that at the beginning of this year, in the State of the Union, the President directed this maritime corridor be established. And I think it has been successful because, at the end of the day, not enough aid is getting into the people of Gaza.”

“And yes, there are still aid that is sitting in that marshaling area awaiting further distribution. We’re working with groups to make sure that happens,” she added. “But I would say that our men and women in uniform have done really heroic work to get that aid to the people that need it most.”

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