Saturday, July 13, 2024

Repairs to Gaza Aid Pier Built by Coronado Sailors Underway

U.S. Army Soldiers and U.S. Navy Sailors assemble the Roll-On, Roll-Off Distribution Facility (RRDF), or floating pier, off the shore of Gaza, April 26, 2024. DOD photo.

A floating pier off the coast of Gaza, which Coronado-based sailors helped build to provide humanitarian aid, was damaged by rough seas.

The U.S. Navy is working to fix it and resume its operation by the end of the week, said Sabrina Singh, deputy Pentagon press secretary, in a June 5 media briefing.

“On Saturday, May 25th, four U.S. Army vessels supporting the maritime humanitarian aid mission in Gaza were affected by heavy sea states, causing these motorized pier sections, which are used to stabilize the Trident Pier, to break free from their anchors due to a loss in power and subsequently beach ashore,” Singh said.

The project’s total cost was initially estimated at $320 million, but estimates have decreased to $230 million due to lower than anticipated costs for contracted trucks, drivers and commercial vessels, as well as the United Kingdom’s contribution of a berthing vessel, Singh said. That figure includes the repair costs.

“The pier proved highly valuable in delivering aid to the people of Gaza,” Singh said. “Thus, upon completion of the pier repair and reassembly, the intention is to reanchor the temporary pier to the coast of Gaza and resume humanitarian aid to the people who need it most.”

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that 1.1 million people face “catastrophic levels of food insecurity” and reports that 1,433 truckloads of aid have entered Gaza since May 7, down from a 2023 daily average of 500 trucks.

Israel has accused the UN of under-counting aid trucks, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN that Israel’s policy is to let as much aid as possible into the country.

The floating dock off the coast of Gaza, known as a roll-on, roll-off discharge facility, was built as a part of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore, or JLOTS, mission, which is led by the Army’s 7th Transportation Brigade from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

Sailors from Naval Beach Group 1, which is based at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, built the facility.

The roll-on, roll-off discharge facility measures 72 feet wide by 270 feet long and floats approximately three miles off Gaza’s shore. Cargo ships will offload aid shipments at sea at the facility.

Once offloaded, cargo is transported to shore along an approximately 1,800-foot causeway comprising modular sections linked together, known as a Trident Pier. The Navy operates causeway ferries to transport the cargo from the discharge facility to the Army’s floating pier.

“My proudest accomplishment in the Navy is supplying humanitarian aid to those in Gaza while also feeding more than 130 Sailors and crew three times a day,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Krystina Sosa, who serves aboard the USNS 1st. Lt. Baldomero Lopez with Naval Beach Group 1, in a military press release. “I feel privileged to be a part of something that is way bigger than myself.”

Megan Kitt
Megan Kitt
Megan has worked as a reporter for more than 10 years, and her work in both print and digital journalism has been published in more than 25 publications worldwide. She is also an award-winning photographer. She holds BA degrees in journalism, English literature and creative writing and an MA degree in creative writing and literature. She believes a quality news publication's purpose is to strengthen a community through informative and connective reporting.Megan is also a mother of three and a Navy spouse. After living around the world both as a journalist and as a military spouse, she immediately fell in love with San Diego and Coronado for her family's long-term home.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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