Egypt's First Female Captain Was (Wrongly) Blamed for Blocking the Suez Canal

The rumor quickly spread through social networks but was later disproven.
Egypt's First Female Captain Was (Wrongly) Blamed for Blocking the Suez Canal
Image credit: Marwa Elselehdar, Instagram

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Entrepreneur Staff
3 min read
This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

In recent weeks, news that the Ever Given ship blocked the Suez Canal went around the world. No one knew what exactly happened, but they did know that it would take time to resolve. And although the story ended in a "happy" ending, there was a rumor that Marwa Elselehdar, Egypt's first female captain, was responsible for the incident. However, she is hundreds of miles from the scene, in Alexandria, on the ship Aida IV, serving as no less than first officer.

Image: MartinLueke | Shutterstock

According to the BBC, the rumors were based on false screenshots of an article allegedly published by the Arab News portal, which later spread quickly through social networks. They claimed that Marwa was involved in the Suez incident.

The captain revealed that she has no idea who may have started the false story, nor does she know the reasons. "I felt that I was the target of these rumors maybe because I am a successful woman in this field or because I am Egyptian, but I'm not sure," Marwa, 29, told the same outlet.

Women represent 2% of sailors worldwide, according to data from the International Maritime Organization. In a sector historically dominated by men, a woman's entrance to the field is a complicated path, but not impossible, as proved by Marwa Elselehdar.

Image: Marwa Elselehdar, Instagram

In 2013, Marwa graduated from the Department of Maritime Transport and Technology of the Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transport of Egypt (AASTMT). For the position, the president of the country at that time, had to give her permission, since women were not accepted.

"People in our society still do not accept the idea that women work in the sea away from their families for a long time," said the captain.

By 2015, she had become the first woman to cross the Suez Canal aboard the Aida IV and the youngest Egyptian captain.

Image: Marwa Elselehdar, Instagram

She is now afraid the rumor will affect her reputation, but she has received a lot of positive comments, so she has decided to focus on the positive. She also hopes to be an example for other women in the industry. "My message for women who want to be in this career is to fight for what you love and not let negativity affect you," she concluded.

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