Big news making the rounds in the United Arab Emirates is that the first female crane operator has been employed by Khalifa Port. This port is the first semi-automated port in the UAE.
At twenty eight years old Ayesha Hassan AbdulRahman Al Marzooqi has a huge job of operating one of the terminals gigantic super post panamax cranes. These cranes are the big boys, at a height of 126.5m and a weight of 1.932t, they are the largest and most modern ship to shore crane about, and they’re the one that handles the mega-vessels of today.
Here are the super post panamax cranes being delivered to Khalifa Port in January 2014. Image credit.
This crane is a workhorse, outreaching to 65m (which is equivalent to 22 containers) and has a lift capacity of ninety tonnes.
Khalifa Port in all its glory.
Whilst Al Marzooqi is a trainee, she is currently in the last phase of the programme, allowing her to operate the crane independently. It’s there she sits, in a small see-through cabin, some sixty metres above the ground. It’s from this office in the sky that she she can see the container vessels underneath and direct the spreader. She then moves the containers from the vessel onto the dockside.
What gave Al Marzooqi the inspiration to become UAE’s first female crane operator?
“I watched a documentary about a female pilot in the UAE Air Force who truly inspired me. Before I started my training at Khalifa Port container terminal, I was given a tour of the port facilities and the ship-to-shore quay cranes really fascinated me. I felt this was my calling and I decided to become a crane operator,” she said.
In a predominantly male industry, this is an achievement that should be celebrated.