April 6 According to foreign media reports, after the giant cargo ship “Changci”, which blocked the Suez Canal for a week, was out of trouble, follow-up claims and other work were waiting. However, the name of an Egyptian captain became a hot search on the Internet, and some accused her of being responsible for the huge ship “Horizontal Card” Suez Canal incident. What the hell is going on?
“Something is wrong”
The 29-year-old Egyptian captain is reportedly named Marwa Elselehdar. After the news of the Long Grant blocking the canal last month and causing a traffic disruption in the river, Malva Islander found that “things are a little wrong”. When she turned on her phone, she found that the Internet said that it should be “all blamed on her”. Islander said she was “shocked” about it.
As the first female captain of Egypt, at the time of the incident, Islander was serving as the first mate on the Aida IV ship in Alexandria, hundreds of kilometers away. Owned by the Egyptian Maritime Safety Agency, the ship is responsible for supplying a lighthouse in the Red Sea. At the same time, the ship is also used to train train participants for the Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transportation (AASTMT), a local university affiliated with the Arab League.
A photo of the Egyptian captainess Islander. Image Source: Islander’s personal social media account.
The report said that rumors about Malva Islander related to the Long Grant trapped in the Suez Canal were mainly due to a screenshot of a fake news headline that pointed out that she was related to the Suez Canal accident.
In fact, it is reported that the title of the news comes from a real story reported by Arab News on March 22, which tells the success story of Islanda as Egypt’s first female captain. However, the news was forged with headlines and pictures were tampered with. Since then, this image has been shared dozens of times on social media. At the same time, several Twitter accounts in her name are also spreading false news about her being trapped in the Long Gift. In the end, rumors formed.
Islanda said she didn’t know who spread the story first, or why they did. She said that she was targeted because she was a successful woman in this field, or because she was Egyptian, but she was not sure why.
The dilemma in the “male monopoly industry”
The report also said that this is not the first time that Malva Islander has faced difficulties in an industry dominated by men.
According to the data of the International Maritime Organization, women currently account for only 2% of the global seafarers.
Islanda said she has always loved the sea and was also encouraged to join the sea merchant ship after her brother was admitted to AASTMT. Although the Arab Academy of Science, Technology and Maritime Transportation only recruited male students at that time, she applied. After legal review by then Egyptian President Mubarak, her application was approved.
On March 29th local time, heavy cargo ships stranded in the Suez Canal were out of trouble, and traffic in the canal gradually resumed.
During her study, Islander said that she encountered gender discrimination everywhere. She said that the ship was full of older men, and their ideas were completely different. Therefore, it is difficult to find communication with like-minded people.
After graduation, Islander was promoted to first mate and became the captain of the first ship to fly the Aida IV through the new river after the expansion of the Suez Canal in 2015. She was also the youngest Egyptian female captain to cross the Suez River at that time.
This time, when claims that she caused the Suez Canal to clog appeared, Islander was worried about having an impact on her work. She said that fake news is written in English and spreads in countries outside Egypt. She did her best to refute the rumor because she was worried that it would affect her reputation and all her efforts to achieve what she is today.
Some of the reviews were very negative and harsh, says Islander. But there are also many supportive comments from ordinary people and her colleagues, which is encouraged by her.” I decided to focus only on the support and love I get, so that my anger turns into gratitude,” she said.
Next month, Islander will take the final exam to become captain. She hopes that she can continue to be a role model for women in the industry. “To all women who want to work in the maritime field, I want to say: Fight for what you love, and don’t let any negative emotions affect you,” says Islander.