Suez Canal Grounding Gives Rise to Fraudulent Claims Online
A global crisis hits the shipping industry, and guess what's the first thing to spread faster than COVID? Misinformation. Here are just a few of the fraudulent social media posts that have spread like wildfire after the Suez shutdown.
Fake posts blame Egypt’s first female captain for blocking Suez Canal
A smear campaign has been started in Egypt against Capt. Marwa Elselehdar, Egypt’s first female captain, with posts blaming her for the Suez Canal blockage filling the country's social media pages.
Recently, a news report was published by Arab Times on Capt. Elselehdar and how she's riding a wave of success. The smear campaign started barely three days after the news was published.
The fake posts depicted Elselehdar commanding the cargo ship Ever Given, causing it to lodge sideways while crossing the Suez Canal. Marwa said that she commands the lighthouse tender Aida 4, owned by the Egyptian Authority of Marine Safety – not the stranded boxship owned by Evergreen.
Egypt Today tweeted, “A fake post is circulating on social media alleging an Egyptian female sea captain of causing the cargo ship Ever Given to get stuck in the Suez Canal while sailing through the international waterway . . . The caption [denigrates] Arab women’s ability to work as sea captains.”
According to Marwa, the fabricated photos and false information are part of an organized smear campaign against Arab women. As evidence, she said that three accounts bearing her name had garnered over 20,000 followers within a few hours of being launched.
Fake news of MSC canceling bookings
Even the world's second-largest shipping line hasn't been spared from fake news. Fake posts have been circulating in the market alleging - falsely - that MSC had stopped bookings worldwide due to the Suez closure.
It took a reassuring post from MSC to calm things down. MSC posted: "MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company is aware of a fake notice circulating in the market which erroneously states that we are not taking any bookings for cargo transportation. MSC wishes to reassure customers that we are open for business and that there is no worldwide stoppage of bookings."
MSC said that due to the Suez Canal blockage, the company might be facing "some missed sailings" in the future. MSC would "adapt the volume of bookings" they can accept "according to the reduced capacity available."