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Three Injured in the U.S. Crew Offloading at Gaza Aid Pier

Gaza aid pier
Benavidez in a May 17 photo offloading at the floating pier in Gaza (CENTCOM)

Published May 24, 2024 12:32 PM by The Maritime Executive

 

Three members of the crew working at the Gaza aid pier were injured in an unloading accident according to a report first on ABC News. U.S. Central Command confirmed the incident with “non-combat-related injuries” to ABC News without providing specific details.

According to various sources, ABC is reporting it was a forklift accident while the MV Roy P. Benavidez, a Ro/Ro cargo ship, part of MARAD’s Ready Reserve Fleet, was offloading on the dock. The report said all three individuals were transferred to an Israeli hospital as they required more care.

ABC is quoting Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, a CENTCOM deputy commander, saying that two of the individuals later returned to duty. The third individual is reported to be in critical condition and remains at the Israeli hospital. The ship is crewed by contracted merchant mariners, and it was unclear if it was this civilian crew or as ABC which referred to them as “service members.”

CENTCOM released a picture on May 18 which showed the Benavidez on the dock with large trucks carrying supplies ashore. According to the report 150 metric tons of supplies were delivered from the ship to the beach transport point on May 22. A further 185 metric tons was distributed from the transfer point to the U.N. warehouse.

 

Benavidez was delivered to the U.S. Navy in 2003 (Northrop Grumman photo)

 

Completed in 2003, the Benavidez was the last of seven strategic sealift ships built by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems for the U.S. Navy. The ship which had previously been deactivated, left Newport News, Virginia on March 21, 2024, as part of the Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore, or JLOTS mission. The ship is a dry cargo surge sealift carrier capable of transporting up to 380,000 square feet of containerized cargo and rolling stock between developed ports.

Aid groups have been critical of the operation since it began saying that it had a limited capacity and was risky. CENTCOM with US AID however is emphasizing the contribution of the pier in its first week of operation. As of May 22, they reported a total of 820.5 metric tons was delivered by sea to the beach transfer point. A total of 506 metric tons they said has been distributed to the U.N. warehouse. The Republic of Cyprus along with the United Nations, is helping to coordinate the effort with CENTCOM emphasizing international donors, including the UAE, the United Kingdom, Romania, and the European Union.