The newly opened shipping route, facilitated by the European Commission, aims to address the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, where a quarter of the population is on the brink of famine.

The ship, operated by the Spanish charity Open Arms, will tow a barge loaded with 200 tonnes of food from the US charity World Central Kitchen. Departing from Cyprus' Larnaca port, the journey is expected to take around two to three days, culminating in an undisclosed location off the coast of Gaza.

Despite the challenges posed by the lack of a functioning port and shallow waters in Gaza, Open Arms founder Oscar Camps expressed confidence in the operation's success. The final leg of the journey, covering approximately 216 nautical miles, is deemed the most complex, but Camps remains unconcerned about security.

At the destination, the World Central Kitchen team has been constructing a pier to facilitate the aid reception. With 60 kitchens throughout Gaza, the organization is well-prepared to distribute the food and alleviate the critical situation.

The aid mission comes in the wake of a maritime corridor announcement by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, coinciding with President Joe Biden's declaration of plans for a temporary floating port off Gaza's shoreline. The Pentagon estimates the construction to take up to 60 days, with the capability to deliver up to 2 million meals daily.

While the international community rallies to address the growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza, challenges persist in delivering aid. Land deliveries are hindered, and air drops, though attempted, prove inefficient and risky. Reports of fatalities from a failed aid package parachute underscore the urgency of the situation.

The conflict in Gaza, initiated by Hamas attacks on Israel, has claimed over 1,200 lives and taken 253 hostages. The ongoing crisis has prompted the UN to warn of an impending famine in Gaza, with over 576,000 people facing catastrophic food insecurity.

International organizations, including Save the Children and Doctors Without Borders, have welcomed efforts to provide aid but emphasize the immediate need for action. Children, in particular, cannot afford delays, as malnutrition is claiming lives in a matter of hours or days, not weeks.

Hapag Lloyd's solution land route from Saudi Arabia to avoid Houthi Attacks Hapag Lloyd's solution land route from Saudi Arabia to avoid Houthi Attacks

As the Open Arms vessel embarks on its mission, the world watches closely, hoping for a positive impact on the lives of those in Gaza facing the harsh realities of famine and conflict.