Egypt’s first female ship captain fears for her career after she was blamed falsely for the Suez Canal blockage when she was aboard a vessel 200 miles away

ever given suez canal
Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, that was wedged across the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway is seen Saturday, March 27, 2021.

  • Marwa Elselehdar is Egypt’s first female ship’s captain.
  • Online rumors and fake news headlines blamed her for the Ever Given grounding, she told the BBC.
  • Elselehdar was actually 200 miles away from the incident when it occurred.
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Egypt’s first female ship’s captain was blamed for the Suez Canal blockage despite having been hundreds of miles away from the incident, she told BBC News.

Marwa Elselehdar said that she saw online rumors accusing her of being responsible for the Ever Given container ship becoming beached, the media outlet reported.

At the time of the jam, Elselehdar was working as a first mate on the Aida IV. This vessel was in Alexandria – more than 200 miles away from the site of the collision.

An investigation is underway to explain the Ever Given’s grounding, but it is clear that the 29-year-old was not to blame.

Read more: The 4 biggest losers of the Suez Canal fiasco – and 4 surprising winners

Rumors circulating online about Elselehdar’s supposed culpability were made worse by the sharing of screenshots of fake news headlines, BBC News reported.

Several social media accounts also impersonated her and spread false claims putting the blame on her, the media outlet said.

“I felt that I might be targeted maybe because I’m a successful female in this field or because I’m Egyptian, but I’m not sure,” Elselehdar told the BBC.

The young woman described how she was “shocked” when she first saw the baseless accusations on her phone.

The rumors concerned her. “I tried so hard to negate what was in the article because it was affecting my reputation and all the efforts I exerted to be where I am now,” she said in the BBC interview.

A post shared by Marwa Elselehdar💫مروة السلحدار (@marwa.elselehdar)

Elselehdar is one of the few women in the heavily male-dominated shipping industry.

In 2016, she became the youngest and first female Egyptian captain to cross the Suez Canal. A year later, she was honored by Egypt’s president during Egypt’s Women’s Day celebrations, the BBC said.

She hopes that her career, despite this unfortunate setback, inspires other women to break into the industry.

“My message to females who want to be in the maritime field is fight for what you love and not let any negativity affect you,” she told the BBC.

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Egypt’s president orders preparations be made to unload Ever Given’s cargo if refloating fails, a high risk strategy adding days of delay

suez canal ever given cargo
A handout picture released by the Suez Canal Authority on March 25, 2021 shows an Egyptian tug boat equiped with a rope trying to free Taiwan-owned cargo MV Ever Given.

  • Egypt’s President has ordered preparations be made to unload the cargo of the Ever Given ship.
  • He outlined the plans to the Suez Canal Authority on Sunday morning, local media reported.
  • Unloading the cargo risks unbalancing and damaging the ship, an expert warned.
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Egypt’s president has ordered preparations be made to unload the cargo of the Ever Given ship if refloating fails, according to local media reports.

President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi outlined the plan to the Suez Canal Authority on Sunday morning, Daily News Egypt reported.

Efforts are currently underway to refloat the ship. The floatation efforts included towing and pushing the grounding vessel using 8 large tugboats, the Suez Canal Authority said.

Authorities are also working to dig the Ever Given out of the sand, The Wall Street Journal reported. Dredgers have shifted 27,000 cubic meters of sand to a depth of 18 meters, Arab News said.

But plans are in place to unload the cargo of the massive ship if these efforts fail, CGTN Africa reported.

Helicopters would most likely need to be used to lighten the Ever Given’s load, The Wall Street Journal reported. This is because there are no cranes in the vicinity that are tall enough to reach the top of the stacked containers, the paper said.

The process could unbalance and damage the ship, BBC News reported. “Worst case scenario is that she breaks in half because of [uneven] weight distributions,” Sal Mercogliano, an expert in maritime history, told the BBC.

It is likely that an effort to remove cargo boxes from the ship would take several days, Bloomberg reported. The Ever Given carries a load of 20,000 containers.

The Ever Given ship has caused a blockage in the Suez Canal since Tuesday morning.

The incident is costing the global economy billions and has caused hundreds of vessels to become stranded.

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Animals stranded on board 20 livestock ships trapped in the Suez Canal jam could starve and die if the situation lasts much longer, charity warns

ever given suez canal
Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, that is wedged across the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway is seen Saturday, March 27, 2021.

  • The Ever Given ship is still lodged in the Suez Canal, causing a jam of more than 200 vessels.
  • At least 20 livestock ships are trapped, The Guardian reported.
  • The stranded animals could starve and die if the situation lasts much longer, a charity warned.
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At least 20 livestock ships have been unable to pass through the Suez Canal due to the blockage of the global trade route by the massive Ever Given container ship, according to The Guardian.

These livestock ships are among the more than 200 vessels stuck in the bottleneck, according to The Washington Post.

There are concerns that if the blockage lasts much longer, the animals stranded on the ships could starve, dehydrate, and even die.

Read more: Wayfair’s cofounder explains why furniture delivery is still so slow – and when it will return to normal

“My greatest fear is that animals run out of food and water and they get stuck on the ships because they cannot be unloaded somewhere else for paperwork reasons,” Gerit Weidinger, EU coordinator for the Animals International charity, told The Guardian.

“Getting stuck on board means there is a risk [for the animals] of starvation, dehydration, injuries, waste buildup so they can’t lie down, and nor can the crew get rid of dead animal bodies in the [Suez] canal.” Weidinger continued. “It’s basically a ticking biohazard timebomb for animals and the crew and any person involved.”

The majority of the ships loaded animals weeks ago in both Spain and Romania, Animals International told The Guardian.

Spanish officials told the paper on Thursday that a pause has been introduced on shipping animals to the Middle East due to the logjam, the paper said.

“We cannot tell you anything about these ships, but due to the blockage of the Suez canal as a result of the grounding of the cargo ship, the Spanish administration has given orders that no animal transport ships bound for Saudi Arabia and Jordan should be loaded until the canal can be navigated normally,” the Spanish agriculture ministry told The Guardian.

The Romanian agriculture ministry did not respond to the paper’s request for comment.

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