Photo Credit: US Navy Photo / Ryan Carter
Vehicles are loaded on to the MV Roy Benavidez, a Bob Hope-class roll-on roll-off vehicle cargo ship to assist with logistics and humanitarian response mission tasking in support of the Army-led deployment of joint logistics over-the-shore (JLOTS). March 15, 2024 in Newport News, VA.

The US Navy may have aborted, or at least postponed, its mission to build a temporary pier on the Gaza coast.

The pier was to serve as another conduit for quick delivery of large amounts of humanitarian aid to the “starving Gazans” in an efficient manner.


One of the American vessels tasked with supporting the mission was forced to turn back to its home port last week after a fire broke out in the engine room.

Other unspecified problems are causing delays as well, including questions about security, according to a report by

The pier was to be built using a Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) platform, the parts for which were being sent by Navy vessels together with the servicemembers who would carry out the construction.

Last month Pentagon spokesperson Major General Pat Ryder said the pier would be operational within 60 days. But that self-imposed May deadline may now have to be pushed back.

On Tuesday (April 16), Ryder told reporters that there will also be “some Israeli support when it comes to the maritime aspect of security,” along with support from the Navy’s Sixth Fleet, which he said has “capabilities there as well.”  (The Sixth Fleet is headquartered at Naval Support Activity Naples, in Italy.)

The next day, (April 17), the Navy issued a separate statement, saying that on April 11, the USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo had “experienced a fire in the engine room while in transit to the eastern Mediterranean Sea.” The crew evacuated the area and used portable extinguishers to put out the fire, but the ship was forced to return to Jacksonville, Florida, using just one engine, “for further assessment.”

Navy Flotilla Set Out for Gaza in March
Right after the first announcement in March, five US military vessels set out for Gaza’s Mediterranean coast, followed by the MV Roy P. Benavidez military sealift command vessel, carrying “heavy equipment and material needed to construct a temporary pier,” the Navy said.

The Benavidez, a Bob Hope-class roll-on roll-off vehicle cargo ship, was assigned to assist in the logistics and humanitarian response mission in support of the Army-led deployment of the Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore (JLOTS) platform.

Naval Beach Group 1, the Bobo and the USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez were to follow the Benavidez; they were tasked with bringing enough watercraft and equipment to operate the planned floating dock that was to be built three miles off the Gaza coast.

The aid was to arrive and be off-loaded at the floating dock, and then from there delivered into Gaza.

But more than a month after announcing the project, not all the ships in the US flotilla have arrived in the Mediterranean; it’s not yet clear why.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.