VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Claim that U.S. Coast Guard fired warning shot at Chinese vessel in South China Sea has NO BASIS

December 22, 2023

A YouTube video claimed without basis that a United States Coast Guard ship fired a warning shot at a Chinese Navy warship in the South China Sea. 

The 16-minute video, posted on Dec. 15, carried this headline: 

US Coast Guard at Chinese Navy nagkatensyon sa South China Sea | Pinaputukan ng Warning Shot (U.S. Coast Guard and Chinese Navy experienced tension in the South China Sea, warning shot fired). 

The vlogger behind the video said the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mellon (WHEC 717) was deployed in the South China Sea and fired a warning shot at a Chinese Navy ship that attempted to approach it. The video showed no proof to support this claim.

There are no reported incidents involving the US Coast Guard and the Chinese Navy in the South China Sea. For one, the alleged deployment of USCGC Mellon is not possible as it was decommissioned on Aug. 20, 2020, after serving for 52 years

The U.S. and the Philippine militaries conducted joint sea and air patrols in November - which the Chinese military condemned. 

There are no reports about a U.S. Coast Guard cutter allegedly firing warning shots against a Chinese Navy ship in the South China Sea.

The misleading video emerged after the Philippines conducted joint sea and air patrols with the U.S. military in late November, a move condemned by China

Posted by YouTube channel PH TV (created on Nov. 2, 2015), the video got a total of over 63,110 views, 205 comments, and 1,776 likes. A reaction video from YouTube channel WANGBUDISS TV (created on Feb. 6, 2017) garnered  more than 49,442 views, 118 comments, and 1,093 likes. 

Have you seen any dubious claims, photos, memes, or online posts that you want us to verify? Fill out this reader request form or send it to VERA, the truth bot on Viber.

(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)

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VERA Files

VERA Files is a nonstock, nonprofit, independent media organization. Founded in March 2008, it is published by veteran Filipino journalists taking a deeper look into current Philippine issues. Vera is Latin for “true.”

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