Old video of fire on cargo ship in Sri Lanka wrongly linked to Houthi attack


Dramatic footage of plumes of smoke rising from a cargo ship shows an incident in 2017, contradicting social media reports that wrongly linked it to a Houthi attack in the Arabian Sea, when the rebels targeted commercial shipping after the war broke out in Gaza. The video shows a fire engulfing a massive container ship off the coast of Sri Lanka.

“Israeli cargo ship MSC Sarah V after a missile attack by Houthi fighters,” it reads in a Sinhalese language. Facebook post who shared the video on June 27.

The Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have launched dozens of missile and drone attacks on commercial vessels in the Red Sea and Arabian Sea since November 2023, attacks they say are in solidarity with the Palestinians during the war in Gaza (archived link).

The war was sparked by an unprecedented attack on Israel by Hamas from the Gaza Strip on October 7, killing 1,195 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

Hamas militants also captured 251 hostages, 116 of whom are still in Gaza. The army says 42 are dead.

At least 37,950 people, mostly civilians, were killed in the Israeli retaliation attack, according to figures from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-ruled area.

The minute-long video shows thick plumes of smoke billowing from a cargo ship as two ships on either side of it try to extinguish the flames.

<span>Screenshot of the fake post captured on June 28, 2024</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/bbQsI9QYmyFyFQ0dd49t2Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTg0OQ–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/e17a10931dbbbf802c5f30aa9b3cc84f”/></p>
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Screenshot of the fake post captured on June 28, 2024

The video circulated in similar posts on Facebook, Instagram And X after the Houthis claimed a June 24 attack targeting a container ship in the Arabian Sea with “a new ballistic missile” (archived link).

The rebels Posted images they said showed the missile being fired at the Liberian-flagged MSC Sarah V (archived link).

According to the Joint Maritime Information Center of the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the ship was attacked but not hit.

It added that the ship was likely attacked due to alleged ties to Israel.

Sri Lanka fire

However, images shared on Facebook show a ship catching fire off the coast of Sri Lanka in 2017.

The watermark on the video reads “adaderana.lk”, referring to the website of Sri Lankan news outlet Ada Derana.

<span>Screenshot of Ada Derana’s watermarked video flagged by AFP</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/ulF5SrWdQXv9qoCaq0WagA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTgxMg–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/54da2a0efe8a660ac35639e03f72b771″/></p>
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Screenshot of Ada Derana’s watermarked video, flagged by AFP

Ada Derana reported about the fire that broke out on April 4, 2017 on a huge container ship sailing from Singapore to Egypt (archived link).

Sri Lanka’s navy said it received a distress call when the 14,000-container ship MSC Daniela was about 120 nautical miles (222 kilometers) from the island, AFP reported reported.

There were no casualties among the 22 crew members, the ship’s owner, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), said in a statement. rack (archived link).

Below is a screenshot of the clip in the fake news (left) and in Ada Derana’s report (right):

<span>Screenshot comparison of the clip in fake news (left) and in Ada Derana’s report (right)</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/sH5QNhEyceTNUjvQy20gnA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTM3NA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/59a6a6c1f30daa1acdf6063a73f66cab”/></p>
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Screenshot comparison of the clip in fake news (left) and in Ada Derana’s report (right)

The Sri Lankan Navy published similar photos of the fire where the ship’s name is clearly visible on the bow (archived link)

<span>A photo of the fire on the Sri Lanka Navy website</span>” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/vCj3NgrmC3fSyCetI0AfIA–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTY1MA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/afp_factcheck_us_713/b8d90fc22a51579bfbc7f5cec3dd28c8″/></p>
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A photo of the fire on the Sri Lanka Navy website

AFP has checked more disinformation about Houthi attacks here.

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