Navy Transport With Equipment, Personnel for Gaza Pier Back Home After Engine Fire

April 17, 2024 5:37 PM
Pentagon Press Secretary U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder conducts a press briefing at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., March 8, 2024. Department of Defense PhotoS

A Navy ship on its way to Gaza with parts for the temporary pier returned home after experiencing a fire, the Navy said Wednesday.

USNS 2nd Lt. John P. Bobo (T-AK-3008) experienced a fire in its engine room on Thursday, April 11, while it was on its way to the Eastern Mediterranean Sea with equipment and personnel for the humanitarian efforts planned via a temporary pier in Gaza, a Navy spokesperson said in a statement to USNI News.

The crew extinguished the fire, and no injuries were reported. The ship returned to Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday for an assessment. The fire is under investigation, according to the statement.

Bobo is one of three transport ships that left for the Mediterranean starting in March as part of the Army-led Joint Logistics Over-the-Shore mission to create a temporary pier to allow more humanitarian aid into Gaza, which Israel has largely closed off since the Hamas attacks on Oct. 7.

Military Sealift Command ships Bobo and USNS 1st Lt. Baldomero Lopez (T-AK-3010) departed earlier this month with Army and Navy personnel and equipment that can build the roll-on, roll-off discharge facility. The U.S. sent ready Maritime Administration ready reserve ship MV Roy P. Benavidez (T-AKR-306) with Army pier infrastructure last month.

The Navy statement did not indicate if there would be a delay to the floating pier as a result of Bobo’s delay. A defense official told USNI News the Navy was assessing how quickly it could repair Bobo and if it would need another ship to transport the Navy gear.

As of Tuesday, the pier is expected to be operational in late April, early May, Pentagon spokesman Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters. Components of the pier are expected to be assembled in the next two to three weeks, he said.

The date of initial operating capacity seems to have shifted with the Department of Defense saying mid-April at first and now late April or early May. Ryder denied a shift when pressed.

“What we said when we announced it was that it would be operational within 60 days, and we’re still on track for that,” he said during the Tuesday news conference.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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