The next shipment of humanitarian aid from Cyprus to Gaza will probably set sail on Tuesday, April 30, Cyprus employers’ and industrialists’ federation (Oev) director general Michalis Antoniou said on Friday.

Speaking to the Cyprus Mail¸ he said, “from the information given to us by the foreign ministry, with a deadline of Monday for aid to arrive at the Larnaca port and Tuesday morning at the absolute latest, it is looking like the ship will set sail on Tuesday.”

Oev had been informed about the plans on Friday and gave instructions to its members to send basic food items, including dried food, rice, and pastas and perishable medicines to the Larnaca port.

They said the aid “must be delivered to the Larnaca port by Monday, April 29”, or in exceptional circumstances by Tuesday morning at the absolute latest.

They added in their announcement that the Amalthea plan – the name given to Cyprus’ seaborne humanitarian aid corridor to Gaza – has “a great political meaning for our country”.

In addition to the instructions given on Friday, Oev also published a set of instructions regarding the size and weight of pallets, as well as stipulating that pallets must be able to be loaded and unloaded by crane.

This set of instructions made specific reference to the floating jetty which was being constructed by the United States off the coast of Gaza, suggesting that the jetty’s construction is almost complete.

Foreign ministry spokesman Theodoros Gotsis was initially keen to play down the announcement, telling the Cyprus Mail that “food being stored does not mean it is going to leave immediately.”

He added that this was simply a case of “help being gathered from wherever possible”. However, Oev’s announcement of a deadline of Monday suggests that something more urgent is afoot.

Questioned on this, Gotsis said “of course, it is expected that when the jetty is completed, we will be able to restart operations.”

He added that the jetty’s completion is not quite yet complete but that its completion will be announced in due course.

The jetty’s potential placement has been a cause for concern among some quarters in recent days, with British newspaper The Guardian having reported on Wednesday that the jetty’s placement may be too far south to help alleviate the “very high” risk of famine in the northern part of Gaza.

The north of Gaza, including Gaza City, has been effectively cut off from the rest of the strip by a military road constructed by the Israeli Defence Force which connects Israel with Gaza’s coast, known as the Netzarim corridor.

As such, if the jetty is placed south of the Netzarim corridor, any aid sent towards Gaza City and the rest of the north of the strip will still have to pass through an IDF checkpoint. This would arguably defeat the point of shipping the aid directly to Gaza.

The United States agency for international development (USAid) said on Thursday that the maritime corridor is “proceeding on schedule”.

All the necessary vessels are in the Mediterranean region and standing by,” a spokesperson said.