Egypt's first female ship captain has been falsely alleged for the blocking of Ever Given at Suez Canal, courtesy of a fake news campaign. A doctored image which made its rounds widely on Facebook and Twitter alleged Marwa Elselehdar, 29, for the massive cargo vessel getting barred in the Suez Canal on March.
The situation hobbled global trade. However, she was nowhere near the scene of the blocking.
Egypt's First Female Ship Captain Falsely Blamed for Suez Situation
According to Elselehdar, after news broke that the Ever Given had barred the Suez Canal on March 24, she became aware of rumors circulating the internet indicating she was responsible. At the time of the accident, she was hundreds of miles away. She was commanding a ship named the Aida IV in Alexandria.
Online rumors and fake news headlines were prevalent, saying she was behind the maritime disaster. This held up the major shipping route for almost a week prior to the freeing of the Ever Given. She remarked, "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," reported Fox News.
Alexandria was over 200 miles away from the site of the collision in Egypt. The rumors on the internet were propelled by a doctored image of a news headline indicating she was involved in the Suez Canal accident.
The identity of Ever Given's captain has not been divulged. However, according to Egyptian officials, human error may have resulted in the ship running aground in March. Elselehdar does not work for the shipping company.
A probing on the situation is underway to explain the Ever Given's grounding. However, it is clear that the 29-year-old was not to be accused. Rumors circulating on the internet about Elselehdar's supposed involvement were aggravated by the sharing of screenshots of fake news headlines, reported Business Insider.
Edited photographs and fake social media handles pushed the lies which she fears have tainted her reputation. The doctored headline was based on a story based on truth by Arab News profiling her success as Egypt's first female captain.
Also, according to Elselehdar, "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 added the fake article was in English so it spread globally, reported 9News.
A number of Twitter accounts under Elselehdar's name also spread fake rumors that she was needed to be held accountable in the Ever Given's crash. The 29-year-old stated she did not know who began the rumors or their motive behind them.
The bogus news prompted trolls to target the ship captain. She said the comments on the article were very harsh and negative. However, there were also numerous other supportive comments from ordinary people and people she works with.
She is one of the few females in the heavily men-dominated shipping industry. She became the youngest and first woman Egyptian captain to cross the Suez Canal in 2016.