Last month, Marwa Elselehdar noticed something strange.

News had broken about a huge container ship, the Ever Given, that had become wedged across the Suez Canal, bringing one of world’s major shipping routes to a halt.

But as she checked her phone, online rumours were saying she was to blame.

“I was shocked,” says Ms Elselehdar, Egypt’s first female ship’s captain.

At the time of the Suez blockage, she was working as a first mate, in command of the Aida IV, hundreds of miles away in Alexandria.

The vessel, owned by Egypt’s maritime safety authority, runs supply missions to a lighthouse in the Red Sea. It’s also used to train cadets from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport (AASTMT), a regional university run by the Arab League.

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