CNA News

“Open Arms” ship expected to arrive in Gaza on Friday, Foreign Ministry says

The ship “Open Arms” that is transporting humanitarian aid to Gaza, is expected to reach its destination before noon on Friday, Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, Theodoros Gotsis, told CNA on Thursday. A second ship is at the port of Larnaca, he said.

According to Gotsis, the Open Arms vessel was on its way to Gaza and has not encountered any problems.

He pointed out that the most important element from Wednesday’s Foreign Ministers’ teleconference, was that now there is the framework, “clear commitment” and a second joint statement that refers to planning for the establishment of a joint fund. He also noted the meeting of senior officials at service level, that is to take place on March 21, in Nicosia, to discuss further steps.

Gotsis also noted the continuous diplomatic activity of both the President of the Republic and the Minister of Foreign Affairs during this period, with both the Israeli and Palestinian sides, and the successive meetings and telephone communications of the Foreign Minister with his counterparts in Egypt, Jordan, the UAE, other countries in the region, as well as UN and EU officials.

According to information CNA has obtained, a second ship has arrived at the port of Larnaca on Wednesday, and is expected to depart for Gaza on Friday, transporting 500 tons of humanitarian aid.

The 80-metre Guinea-Bissau flagged vessel “Jennifer”, arrived at the port of Larnaca from the island of Rhodes.

The same information said that 500 tons of humanitarian aid which arrived from abroad by air at Larnaca airport, is expected to be loaded onto the ship. The humanitarian aid includes sugar, flour, pasta, canned goods and milk.

According to the information, scanners were installed at the port of Larnaca, operated by specialised personnel from Israel. After the necessary checks of the humanitarian aid are carried out for security reasons, the aid will be loaded onto the ship.

The same information said that the ship is expected to depart from the port of Larnaca on Friday and is estimated to reach Gaza in 36 hours.

Upon the ship’s arrival in Gaza and due to the morphology of the seabed there, the ship will await until the unloading of the aid carried by the “Open Arms”, and the MMS ARIS platform is completed, and then, an operation to unload its own cargo to the platform will follow and from there the humanitarian aid will be transferred to the coast.

This is because large ships cannot reach the shores of Gaza because the waters are shallow and the infrastructure expected to be constructed by the United States is not yet ready.