Home Europe ‘Lifeline’ aid ship for Gaza finally sets sail from Cyprus

‘Lifeline’ aid ship for Gaza finally sets sail from Cyprus

by editor

An aid ship to Gaza left the Cypriot port of Larnaca early Tuesday as a new humanitarian sea corridor is piloted.

The charity ship was loaded with almost 200 tons of food supplies — including flour, rice and proteins — and was finally seen sailing out of the port at around 9 a.m., accompanied by another vessel, heading to a population which the United Nations says is on the brink of famine.

“The Amalthia journey is one of hope and humanity, and it has only just began,” Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides said. “The first ship in the context of the Cyprus Maritime Corridor Initiative for humanitarian aid to Gaza has sailed. It is a lifeline to civilians.”

The trip is expected to take two days, according to government officials. The vessel carries an MMS Aris floating unit, as Gaza has no port structure.

Cyprus is the closest EU member country to Israel and the Palestinian territories. Cypriot leaders say it is a natural point for collecting and inspecting shipments destined for Gaza.

The mission, mostly funded by the United Arab Emirates, is being organized by U.S.-based charity World Central Kitchen and Spanish charity Open Arms is supplying the ship.

“Our goal is to establish a maritime highway of boats and barges stocked with millions of meals continuously headed towards Gaza,” said WCK founder José Andrés and CEO Erin Gore in a statement.

The ship was originally set to depart last Friday, during the visit by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to Cyprus to launch the humanitarian corridor, but it was eventually delayed for four days due to technical difficulties.

Israel has been carrying out a military bombardment and ground offensive in the Gaza Strip since October, in retaliation for the Palestinian militant group Hamas’ violent attack on Israeli territory on Oct. 7 which killed more than 1,000 people. Gaza’s Hamas-controlled health ministry says that Israel itself has killed more than 30,000 people in its ongoing war in the coastal enclave.

Cypriot Foreign Minister Constantinos Kombos told local media Tuesday that the arrival of a second aid vessel was awaited, and that Cyprus expected the sea corridor to operate on an ongoing basis with regular aid shipments.

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