“Ever Given”, which weighs 220,000 tons and is 400 meters long, ended up in the middle of a sandstorm. The storm caused the captain to lose sight and the ship to get stuck.
False news headline
Marwa Elselehdar, who was miles away from “Ever Given”, was quickly identified as the culprit for the ground-breaking ship on social media. She herself was on the ship “Aida IV” off Alexandria in Egypt.
When Elselehdar checked the phone, she therefore got a surprise. The rumors are said to have started by publishing a screenshot of a fake news headline – allegedly published by Arab News – claiming that Elselehdar was involved.
– I was shocked, says Elselehdar, who is Egypt’s first female captain, to the BBC.
Several are said to have spread the false message on Twitter and Facebook.
She herself does not understand the false rumors about her. She does not know who started them, or why, she says.
– I think I may have been a target because I am a successful woman in this profession, or because I am Egyptian, but I do not know, she says.
When Elselehdar applied to the Arab Academy of Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), the school initially accepted only male applicants. However, then-President Hosni Mubarak granted her request for captaincy training.
“People in this society still do not accept the idea of girls working at sea and being away from family for a long time,” she says.
After graduating, Elselehdar rose through the ranks and became captain of “Aida IV”. She thus became the first and youngest Egyptian woman to navigate the boat through the Suez Canal in 2015.
In 2017, she was also honored by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi during the country’s celebration of Women’s Day.
Loosened the ship
On Monday, it became clear that the giant ship has detached from the canal. With the help of high water levels, powerful tugboats had earlier in the day managed to turn the container ship so that it was 80 percent in the right direction.
– This is very good news. Finally, the plug has come loose. The ship ran aground almost a week ago and there has been hectic work around the ship to get it loose. It has finally released, and the ship is sailing to Bitter Lake which is located in the middle of the Suez Canal where it will be added for further inspection, said CEO of the Norwegian Shipowners’ Association, Harald Solberg, to Dagbladet TV.
He emphasized that the most important thing was that shipping traffic could pick up again.
– The reports we have received indicate that the Suez Canal will reopen for ship traffic during the evening, Solberg said.
50 ships per day
The news that parts of the ship had run aground came while ten powerful tugboats were working to get the ship moving. During the night, dredgers must have removed 27,000 cubic meters of sand and mud around the hull.
When the Suez Canal is open to traffic, it passes on average around 50 ships per day. The goods they carry with them make up over 10 percent of world trade. The canal is especially important for oil on its way from the Middle East.
The German insurance company Allianz has estimated that the cost of blocking the canal is between NOK 50 and 90 billion per day.
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