UK to send Royal Navy ship to supply aid to Gaza

The vessel will be part of an international effort to set up a new humanitarian maritime corridor for aid to the besieged enclave in early May

A member of 47 Air Despatch Squadron loads humanitarian aid onto an RAF A400M aircraft  to airdrop it, along the northern coastline of Gaza, as part of the Jordanian-led international aid mission, in Amman, Jordan, in this handout released March 26, 2024. RAF / UK MoD / Reuters
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As part of a multinational effort to establish a humanitarian sea corridor for aid to Gaza, the UK government has announced it will be sending a Royal Navy ship to the Eastern Mediterranean.

The maritime corridor from Cyprus to Gaza, which is being supported by several governments and the UN, is expected to be operational in early May.

The UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) is also committing up to £9.7 million [$12.3m] for aid deliveries, including logistical expertise and equipment to support the corridor, such as forklift trucks and storage units.

The corridor initiative will see aid pre-screened in Cyprus and delivered directly to Gaza, through the new US temporary pier being constructed off the coast, or via Ashdod Port after Israel agreed to open it.

“The situation in Gaza is dire and the prospect of famine is real,” UK Foreign Secretary, David Cameron, said.

“We remain committed to getting aid to those who so desperately need it. Along with the US, Cyprus and other partners, we are setting up a new temporary pier off the coast of Gaza to get aid in as quickly and securely as possible,” Lord Cameron said.

“Land access remains crucial to deliver aid at the scale now required. The opening of Erez and the Port of Ashdod is hugely welcome and something the UK has long been calling for.

“Israel has also agreed to increase the number of aid trucks entering Gaza to a minimum of 500 a day.

“But we need to continue to explore all options, including by sea and air, to ease the desperate plight of some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” he added.

UK drops more aid into Gaza - in pictures

'Doing everything possible'

Meanwhile, the UK government said it was doing “everything possible” to get more aid into Gaza, noting that in recent weeks the Royal Air Force has conducted five airdrops along the coastline of Gaza, safely delivering over 40 tonnes of food supplies, including water, flour and baby formula.

“The armed forces are playing a central role in delivering aid, with the Royal Air Force recently completing five airdrops of food supplies for the people of Gaza,” said UK Defence Secretary, Grant Shapps.

“I would like to thank all the personnel involved in this effort, working around the clock to help provide critical aid under immensely challenging circumstances.”

Last week, the killing of the seven aid workers, including three British nationals, in an Israeli air strike in Gaza, stirred global outrage and led to the dismissal of two Israeli military officers.

The UK government said it would continue to call for “reform of deconfliction mechanisms”, along with assurances that the safety of aid workers could be guaranteed.

Updated: April 07, 2024, 5:35 PM