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HomeFact Check2021 Video Showing Cargo Ship On Fire Off Sri Lankan Coast Falsely...

2021 Video Showing Cargo Ship On Fire Off Sri Lankan Coast Falsely Claimed As Footage Of US Vessel Struck By Houthi Missile

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

Claim
Video shows US cargo ship that was attacked by a missile off the coast of Yemen on January 15, 2024.

Fact
Viral video dates back to May 2021, shows a Singapore-flagged cargo ship that caught fire off the coast of Colombo.

Several social media users are sharing a video, claiming it shows the US-owned cargo ship that was just hit by a missile off the coast of Yemen on Monday (January 15).

The archived versions of the tweets can be seen here and here.

US Vessel Struck By Missile

A US-owned and operated container ship was reportedly struck by an anti-ship ballistic missile from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, according to the US Central Command. The Houthis claimed responsibility for the attack, the Associated Press reported. The missile attack comes shortly after the US and UK launched joint strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen. The Iranian-backed Houthis, in a show of support for the Palestinians and Hamas in Gaza, have reportedly been attacking commercial ships in the Red Sea that the group says are linked to Israel, or bound for Israeli ports.

Fact Check

Newschecker first looked for reports on the recent attack, which led us to this tweet by the US Central Command, dated January 15, 2022, stating that a missile struck the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, a Marshall Islands-flagged, U.S-owned and operated container ship. However, that tweet stated that the ship has “reported no injuries or significant damage” and is continuing its journey, raising our doubts about the viral video.

We then ran a reverse image search of keyframes of the video, which led us to this Youtube video from Newsfirst Sri Lanka, dated May 25, 2021, stating it shows “Aerial Footage of the burning X-Press Pearl in the seas off Colombo, footage from Sri Lanka Air Force”.

We also came across this Youtube video uploaded by The Sun, dated May 25, 2021, stating an explosion was reported on a container ship off the port of Colombo, Sri Lanka, on Tuesday, days after a fire broke out on the vessel, which is carrying 25 tonnes of nitric acid. “Black smoke poured from the Singapore-flagged X Press Pearl. The fire first broke out on Thursday, May 20, before the situation deteriorated. Singapore’s Daily Mirror reported that all 25 crew were evacuated and that two had been hospitalised with injuries. The explosion sent several containers into the sea, the Mirror said… The MV X-Press Pearl, a container vessel sailing with a Singaporean flag and carrying cosmetics and chemicals including 25 tonnes of nitric acid, was anchored off the Colombo harbour when a container caught fire on Friday (May 21), officials said,” read the description. Similar reports featuring the viral footage can be seen here and here, confirming that the viral video is not of the recent attack on the US cargo ship.

“The cargo vessel – MV ‘X-Press Pearl’- was carrying a consignment of chemicals and raw materials for cosmetics from Hazira in Gujarat to Colombo Port on May 20 when it caught fire some 9.5 nautical miles away from the port of Colombo,” read an NDTV report, dated May 30, 2021, adding that all 25 crew members of the ship — of Indian, Chinese, Filipino and Russian nationalities — were rescued.

Also Read: Did Saudi Civic Authorities Clean Madinah Streets Due To Smriti Irani’s Visit? Viral Claim Found To Be False

Conclusion

Viral video shows Singapore-flagged ship that caught fire off the Sri Lankan coast in 2021, not the US vessel struck by Houthi missile.

Result: False

Sources
Youtube video, The Sun, May 25, 2021
Youtube video, Newsfirst Sri Lanka, May 25, 2021


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Pankaj Menon is a fact-checker based out of Delhi who enjoys ‘digital sleuthing’ and calling out misinformation. He has completed his MA in International Relations from Madras University and has worked with organisations like NDTV, Times Now and Deccan Chronicle online in the past.

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