Egypt’s 1st Female Ship Captain Falsely Blamed for Blocking Suez

Elselehdar was nowhere near Ever Given, she was working onboard Aida IV, a different vessel, in Alexandria.

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Elselehdar was nowhere near Ever Given, she was working onboard Aida IV, a different vessel, in the city of Alexandria.
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Just hours after the news of Ever Given being wedged across Suez Canal broke earlier in March, social media handles were quick to blame Egypt's first female ship captain – Marwa Elselehdar – for the mishap.

Only, Elselehdar was hours away from Ever Given, working onboard Aida IV, a different vessel, in the city of Alexandria.

An article from Arab News about her groundbreaking career was photoshopped, with a new headline claiming that she was “involved” in the incident, screenshots of which went viral.

Egypt’s 1st Female Ship Captain Falsely Blamed for Blocking Suez
(Photo: Screengrab)
“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,” said 29-year-old Elselehdar to BBC.

Elselehdar – A Pioneer

An industry historically dominated by men, only 2 percent of the world seasfarers are women, according to the International Maritime Organisation.

Only men were admitted to the Egyptian maritime institute at that time when she wanted to enrol, but Elselehdar applied anyway.

She was granted permission to join after a legal review by Egypt's then-President Hosni Mubarak.

“People in our society still don’t accept the idea of girls working in the sea away from their families for a long time. But when you do what you love, it is not necessary for you to seek the approval of everyone.”
Marwa Elselehdar to BBC

In May 2021, Elselehdar will be taking her final exam to attain a full rank of captain – in hope that she can continue to inspire and be a role model for women in the industry.

(With inputs from BBC)

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