Egypt‘s first female ship captain says she was blamed for blocking the Suez Canal despite being on a different ship hundreds of miles away.

By John Bacon USA TODAY

Marwa Elselehdar was working as a first mate in command of the Aida IV in Alexandria when the Ever Given became wedged in the canal, bringing the major shipping route to a halt.

But online rumors and fake news headlines spread the falsehood that she had caused the container ship to run aground in Suez.

She rose to the rank of first mate and captained the Aida IV when it became the first vessel to cross the Suez Canal after it was expanded in 2015

Edited photos and fake social media accounts pushed the lies which she fears have damaged her reputation.

The doctored headline was based on a genuine story by Arab News profiling her success as Egypt’s first female captain. 

Multiple fake Twitter accounts were created in her name, making it more difficult for her to present the true story, she said.

The 29-year-old does not know who started the rumors but believes she was targeted because of her gender.

She told the BBC: ‘I was shocked. 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.’

‘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.’

Women only make up two per cent of the world’s seafarers according to the International Maritime Organization. 

Marwa will taken her final exam next month to gain the full rank of captain and she hopes to continue to inspire women.

In 2017, she was honored by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to mark Egypt’s Women’s Day. 




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