Egypt’s first female captain falsely blamed for blocking Suez Canal


"Frankly, when I read the news I was upset because I worked really hard to reach the position I have reached", she said in a video posted online.

"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", she told the BBC.

Besides the 61 ships that are set to cross today, Egypt will also receive 24 new ships that will cross the canal after navigation was restored, Rabie added.

Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo reports on the MV Ever Given that hit the bottom of the Suez Canal and has been stuck since Tuesday.

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

The image which circulated was an image of a news story from the website Arab News, which had been doctored to pin the blame on her.

The guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (centre) and the guided-missile destroyer USS Thomas Hudner (right) are seen behind a tug following the aircraft carrier USS Dwight D Eisenhower (not shown) during a transit of the Suez Canal on Friday.

When rumours emerged about her role in the Suez blockage, she feared for the impact it would have on her work.

Egyptian authorities have presented the freeing of the mega-ship as a vindication of the country's engineering and salvage capabilities.

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The identity of the Ever Given's captain has not been revealed.

Ms Elselehdar is no stranger to challenges in her chosen field, with now only 2 per cent of the world's seafarers being female, according to the International Maritime Organisation.

In 2015, she served as Captain on the Aida IV when it became the first vessel to navigate the newly-expanded Suez Canal.

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

"The comments on the article were very negative and harsh, but there were so many other supportive comments from ordinary people and people I work with", she said.

The canal normally handles about 50 ships a day, but had to increase that to between 80 and 90 to clear the backlog.

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