Second NGO Aid Flotilla Departs for Gaza

World Central Kitchen
The freighter Jennifer, ready for departure (WCK)

Published Apr 1, 2024 4:12 PM by The Maritime Executive


A second vessel has departed Cyprus with aid for Gaza under the auspices of the NGO World Central Kitchen. The freighter Jennifer is now under way for the Gaza Strip, accompanied by the rescue tug Open Arms. 

The delivery is supported by the government of the UAE, and includes enough food for 1.2 million meals for Palestinian civilians. The cargo also contains dates, a staple food during Ramadan. 

World Central Kitchen has distributed more than 40 million meals in Gaza since the start of the Israeli military operation last year, and it is advocating for the removal of restrictions on truck crossings at the territory's borders. "More and more people, particularly children, are dying of starvation. We’ve known for months that famine is imminent and the situation is getting worse," said José Andrés, Founder and Erin Gore, Chief Executive Officer in a joint statement. 

Gaza lacks commercial port infrastructure. For now, World Central Kitchen's partners on the ground have constructed a rough-hewn pier out of rubble to serve as a receiving point. The improvised facility has received one shipment already, using a shallow-draft barge to deliver the aid to the "wharf" and a mobile crane to hoist it off. 

The Turkish government has announced that it will contribute two vessels for the aid sealift effort to move food to Gaza, where famine looms amidst ongoing fighting. One of these ships can carry 5,500 tonnes of cargo. The destination port is not known; Turkey famously attempted to run the Israeli maritime blockade on Gaza with six ships in 2010, resulting in multiple deaths in an Israeli commando raid.