Egypt media sparks mockery over reports Suez Canal operations 'back to normal'
Al-Masry al-Youm and Al-Dustour newspapers published articles claiming that traffic returned to normal in the Suez Canal after stalling this week due to the wedging of a giant container ship across the canal, leading to the worst shipping jam in years.
"The return of natural navigation to the Suez Canal and the crossing of the first ship," said Al-Masry al-Youm's front page headline read on Thursday.
The headlines have attracted criticism, particularly as work is under way to remove large amounts of sand to refloat the ship, as the crisis forced companies to re-route services from the vital shipping lane around Africa.
The false reports came after the Singapore-based Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) released a statement on Friday that an attempt to unblock the canal was unsuccessful.
Egyptian media is known to be averse to publishing any critical news about the Suez Canal and economic institutions, and has often lavished excessive praise on President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi's government.
The Suez Canal Authority Chairman, Osama Rabie, issued a statement on Wednesday ascribing the blockage to "the lack of visibility resulting from bad weather conditions", including a sandstorm and strong winds of up to 75 kilometres per hour.
News began circulating on Tuesday evening when pictures of the giant container stranded sidewise appeared on social media.
Egyptian media outlets were forced to wait for a official statement before being able to report on the blockage.
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