The Open Arms aid ship was in the process of approaching and unloading cargo on Friday, the foreign ministry spokesman, Theodoros Gotsis said.

Speaking to CyBC, the spokesman said that the vessel with close to 200 tonnes of aid was approaching Gaza and the aid was going to be unloaded.

“Everything is going to plan,” he said.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail on Friday afternoon, deputy government spokesman Yiannis Antoniou said the processes to allow the ship to deposit its cargo are “being carried out with the Israelis right now.”

He added that the current plans are to leave the aid on a floating platform which travelled with the ship, which will then be brought ashore by the Israelis.

A temporary jetty, which is due to be built by US-based charity World Central Kitchen in coordination with Israel’s defence ministry, is “under construction”, he said.

Floating on a barge attached by rope to a salvage ship, rough seas appeared to slow down the cargo reaching land, footage posted by a WCK official on social media showed.

WCK have been constructing a makeshift jetty which would allow the flat-bottomed barge to approach Gaza’s shallow waters for lack of proper port infrastructure.

“So far 2 crates already delivered from the barge,” WCK founder Jose Andres, a Michelin-starred chef, said in a post on X. “But still more to do next few (h)ours”.

The ship, which left Larnaca on Tuesday with nearly 200 tonnes of humanitarian aid on board as part of Cyprus’ Amalthea project to send humanitarian aid to Gaza by sea, is expected to later undergo further inspections on the part of the Israeli government.

The Israeli defence ministry said on Thursday evening it was making preparations for the ship to arrive, and that the receipt of aid would be coordinated with the country’s authorities “based on the instructions of the Israeli government and requests made by the United States government.”

a ship carrying aid sails off the shore of gaza, as seen from central gaza stripIsraeli media had said that the ship would be inspected again once it is within 20 nautical miles of Gaza’s coast, before heading for the shore, escorted by the Israeli Navy and Air Force.

However, with the ship now seemingly within 20 miles of the coast according to photographic evidence, it is unclear whether those inspections have taken place.

Meanwhile, in Larnaca, a second ship, the Jennifer is expected to set sail for Gaza on Friday, with “at least 500 tons” of aid on board.

Most of that aid will consist of sugar, flour, pasta, and milk.

World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres said on Friday in a post on X, formerly Twitter, that the forthcoming arrival of the ship is evidence of “the power of heart, humanitarianism, and action.”

He said there will be “millions of meals for Gaza” delivered via the corridor.

The Amalthea project was also the focus of a discussion between President Nikos Christodoulides and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte during a phone conversation that took place on Friday.

The Netherlands is among the countries that have expressed interest in participating in the project.

During their conversation, Christodoulides briefed Rutte on the developments regarding the maritime corridor and the ongoing efforts to send humanitarian aid from Cyprus to Gaza.

According to government spokesperson Konstantinos Letymbiotis, the Dutch PM conveyed his government’s interest in participating in the project, as well as the Netherlands’ desire and intention to assist the initiative through technical support.

Rutte added that for this purpose representatives of the Dutch government will visit Cyprus next Tuesday. Christodoulides, meanwhile, is set to return to Cyprus from Thessaloniki on Friday evening.