VERA FILES FACT CHECK: US Coast Guard did NOT sink Chinese ships in West PH Sea

April 11, 2023

A video on Facebook (FB) is erroneously claiming that a cutter vessel of the United States Coast Guard (USCG) fired at two Chinese ships for allegedly blocking the superpower’s vessel from entering the West Philippine Sea.

On March 27, an FB page published the video with the following false headline:

“US Coast Guard hindi nagpatinag! Pinaputukan umano ang dalawang Chinese warship na nangharang sa WPS (USCG unshaken! Fired at two Chinese warships blocking entry to the West Philippine Sea)”

Its caption stated that the U.S. sent the USCG cutter Munro to the West Philippine Sea to “secure and maintain the freedom of navigation in the area” but two ships from the Chinese People’s Liberation Army supposedly attempted to halt the cutter’s patrol, leading to the firing incident.

There was never any altercation at sea. Neither was the USCG cutter Munro patrolling the Philippines’ territorial waters.

In a March 31 email, the USCG told VERA Files Fact Check that the incident claimed by the FB page was fabricated. “This is not true,” it said.

Just last month, the USCGC Munro ended its 105-day long patrol in Alaska after traveling in the Bering Sea, thousands of kilometers from the Philippines’ national borders.

The video emerged a week after a team of experts from the USCG was sent to Pola, Oriental Mindoro to assist in cleaning up the oil spill caused by the sunken tanker MT Princess Empress.

FB page PH TV (created on Nov. 1, 2021) uploaded the spurious video, garnering over 8,500 reactions, 460 comments, 310 shares and 235,000 views. The same video was also published on its YouTube channel with the same name, receiving more than 98,000 views and 1,400 interactions.

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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