Suez Canal workman finally gets his overtime pay


Workman who shot to fame for operating Suez Canal digger finally gets his overtime pay AND a bonus for going ‘above and beyond’

  • Suez Canal excavator operator has finally received his overtime pay  
  • Abdullah Abdul-Gawad described gruelling 21-hour days of work on the mission 
  • He and his colleagues would catch just three hours of sleep at night 

The workman who shot to fame for operating a Suez Canal digger during desperate attempts to free the stricken ship Ever Given has finally received his overtime pay as well as a bonus, officials have revealed. 

Images showing Abdullah Abdul-Gawad’s digger shifting rock and sand in a bid to free the enormous ship were seen around the world and sparked dozens of memes online as the crisis unfolded in March.

The subcontractor later revealed that he was owed his overtime payment and he and his workers had got by on just three hours of sleep. 

The Suez Canal Authority has now said it believes Abdullah Abdul-Gawad has got the extra money and praised his work as going ‘above and beyond’ what was required of him.

Excavator operator Abdullah Abdul-Gawad (pictured) has told how he and his colleagues worked 21-hour days after the Ever Given, a skyscraper-size container ship, became stuck in the canal on March 23

Excavator operator Abdullah Abdul-Gawad (pictured) has told how he and his colleagues worked 21-hour days after the Ever Given, a skyscraper-size container ship, became stuck in the canal on March 23

Excavator operator Abdul-Gawad told how he and his colleagues worked 21-hour days after the skyscraper-size container ship became stuck in the canal last month. 

According to Abdul-Gawad, he and his colleagues would catch three hours of sleep at night at the most. 

One night, he only took one hour of sleep. Yet he claims he has not yet been compensated financially for working overtime. 

Speaking to Business Insider, he said he feared that the lodged ship could destabilize and collapse onto the workers at any moment. 

‘The thing is, I was terrified that the ship might list too far to one side or the other,’ he said. 

‘Because if it fell onto its side on me, then it’s goodbye me, and goodbye excavator.’  

He added that the size of the ship compared to the size of the excavator was ‘absolutely terrifying’. 

A backhoe trying to dig out the keel of the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, that was wedged across the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway on March 25

A backhoe trying to dig out the keel of the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, that was wedged across the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway on March 25

A backhoe trying to dig out the keel of the Ever Given, a Panama-flagged cargo ship, that was wedged across the Suez Canal and blocking traffic in the vital waterway on March 25 

The vessel was finally dislodged on March 29 after a specialized dredger boat called the Mashhour was deployed. 

Abdul-Gawad helped to shift rock and sand material from the ship’s bow while the Mashhour dislodged the silt from the canal bed. 

The excavator operator said that he and his men were left ‘half-dead with exhaustion’ by the end of the mission, although he added that he felt immense pride at what had been accomplished during those days. 

‘It’s an achievement for Egypt first, but it’s an achievement for me as well. 

‘This is something that happens maybe once in a lifetime or, you know, maybe twice. It’s something to be proud of,’ he told the publication. 



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