Friday, 16 April, 2021

Traffic jam clears in Suez Canal days after container ship dislodged

28 2021 shows tanker and freight ships near the entrance of the Suez Canal by Egypt's Red Sea port city of Suez. AFP 28 2021 shows tanker and freight ships near the entrance of the Suez Canal by Egypt's Red Sea port city of Suez. AFP
Ginger Lawrence | 05 April, 2021, 09:37

An SCA investigation began on Wednesday into what caused the vessel to run aground in the canal and block the waterway for six days, chairman Osama Rabie told the TV station MBC Masr late Friday.

Rumours about Marwa Elselehdar's role on the Ever Given were largely spurred by screenshots of a fake news headline - supposedly published by Arab News - which said she was involved in the Suez incident.

In this photo released by Suez Canal Authority, the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, is pulled by one of the Suez Canal tugboats, in the Suez Canal, Egypt, Monday, March 29, 2021. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.

The fake image, purportedly from the Arab News outlet, appears to be from an actual story about Elselehdar from March 22 that was unrelated to Suez.

She is now ranked as a first mate and takes a final exam to gain the full rank of captain next month.

Hapag-Lloyd is a container ship company.

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

The blockage has been blamed for billions of dollars in global losses.

The canal is economically vital to Egypt, which lost between $12 million and $15 million in revenues for each day the waterway was closed, according to the canal authority.

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"It is hard to see that someone is trying to cancel all this effort. or accuse me of being a failure or that I neglect my work", she said.

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.

She was recently promoted to captain, although she must take the final exam.

"My message to females who want to be in the maritime field is fight for what you love and not let any negativity to affect you", she said.

"People in our society still don't accept the idea of girls working in the sea away from their families for a long time", she told the BBC.

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

In total, 85 ships had been due to pass through the canal on Saturday, including 24 ships that arrived after Ever Given was dislodged, the SCA said.

Rabie called the effort an "achievement that adds to the authority's ability to manage emergency situations and deal with crises".