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'Don't Mock the Weak': Meet the Operator Who Used ‘Tiny Bulldozer’ to Dig Out Suez Canal Ship

Excavating the Suez block | Image credit: REUTERS

Excavating the Suez block | Image credit: REUTERS

Abdallah became a national hero after his identity was revealed and was even congratulated by many around the world for his contribution to save the international trade route.

You have seen him taking on the mammoth task of freeing the Ever Given stuck in the Suez Canal last week. You have also seen him as the subject of thousands of memes in his tiny yellow bulldozer, digging away next to the massive Ever Given. Meet Abdallah Abdelgawad, an excavator operator making 3,000 Egyptian pounds ($190) a month.

The 26-year-old reported for work on March 23, 2021 as usual at 7 am but noticed that the gates were shut. Speaking to a news websiteThe National, Abdallah said that he returned to his accommodation in Al Arbain, which was 30 minutes away from the canal. After he had returned to his place, Abdallah received a call from his manager at the contracting firm and was asked to reach the canal’s eastern bank immediately, where a Suez Canal Authority car was waiting for him. Unaware of the mission that he was going to be assigned, Abdallah told his manager that he was denied entry earlier because of a ship blocking the canal. To this, his boss replied that he will be going there for that specific ship.

Abdallah told The National that from the briefing he received at the location,he realised from his experience that the bow of the ship was stuck deep in the silt beneath. So,he knew he had to dig deep around it from both sides to free it.

Abdallah was aware of the memes with the picture of him digging around the cargo vessel being circulated. Speaking to The National.He revealed that this made him upset at first, but when he finally freed the ship, he forgot all the memes.

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Abdallah said that it was indeed an excruciating task and by Monday, March 29, 2021 when the Ever Given finally was freed, his body was numb with fatigue. Abdallah became a national hero after his identity was revealed and was even congratulated by many around the world for his contribution to save the international trade route.

Abdallah’s story is indeed an inspiration and as he said, one should not mock the weak or belittle them, because the tiny digger had a big role in moving a ship that is more than 500 times its size.

first published:April 05, 2021, 12:05 IST