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Gaza aid ship operator hopes to be superseded – but will go 'over and over again' until then



The aid-shipping operation which arrived on the shores of Gaza this weekend worked well – but the coordinator of the NGO which organized the trip told CGTN he hoped the sea-route logistics would soon be boosted beyond his charity's capabilities.

The aid arrived on a barge towed by a vessel run by the Spanish charity Open Arms. It sailed from Larnaca in Cyprus to the Gaza shore carrying 200 tonnes of food in an operation fraught with logistical hurdles. 

Gerard Canals, the charity's Operations Coordinator, admitted the intervention was a desperate last resort – but one that Open Arms intends to repeat as often as possible until a better method is available.

"This is sad because obviously by sea we have a limited capacity," he told CGTN. "There are several hundreds of trucks waiting to get by road, then there's the airdrops.

"We're just providing one more way to get in with food. At this moment it's the one working, or at least it worked once."


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Canals said Open Arms had been delighted with the success of the operation and fully intended to repeat, and expand, the efforts.

"Everything was according to the plan, was smooth and without problems," he said. "We will try to do it over and over again, and with bigger ships. Obviously this is a drop in the ocean, this is not enough. But this is what we can do.

"We want to make it bigger – to bring more food, maybe also many medical [supplies]. I don't know, this is something yet to be decided, but at this moment we are very happy with what happened."


Upscaling the initiative

In the longer term, Canals hopes that upscaling the sea-route logistics will render Open Arms' relatively small operation insufficient for the task.

"If they could build a port or a facility with the capacity to unload goods and ships directly without these platforms that we've been using, then at this moment we will probably won't be needed," he admitted.

"We are not a big ship, but we have a certain capacity to do things differently. So that's why they call us and they choose us. Once they have a port there, they could do it much better."

Even so, Canals said he is proud of Open Arms' work in a desperate situation.

"This corridor was open since November, but no one could find a way to do it," he explained. We just put in some imagination, and some expert people thinking, and we got many ideas. 

"In the end, this idea got through and it's been accepted and it's working. So yeah, I would say that we are good at this."

Gaza aid ship operator hopes to be superseded – but will go 'over and over again' until then

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