VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Video DOES NOT show a German warship in Mindanao 

April 3, 2023


An old video of a German frigate is being passed off as a new clip showing a ship from Germany that just arrived in Mindanao. This is false. The nine-year-old video was not taken in the Philippines. 

A YouTube channel that has repeatedly been debunked for spreading military-related disinformation posted the video on March 30. The two-minute and 36-second video carried the headline: 

“24 ORAS EXPRESS GERMAN WAR SHIP NASA MINDANAO NA (GERMAN WARSHIP NOW IN MINDANAO) ! WEST PHILIPPINE SEA VINES BREAKING NEWS VIRAL”

Tagging it as “breaking news” the thumbnail photo featured a digitally altered image of the ship showing the German and Philippine flags. The text claimed that Germany sent the frigate to rescue the Philippines amid the tensions in the West Philippine Sea. 

What is actually shown in the video is the German frigate FGS Niedersachsen (F208) heading between Sparrows Point and Fort Armistead in Baltimore in September 2014 in observance of the 200th year of the Battle of Baltimore.

It was uploaded by YouTube channel Ursusdave on March 26. The false post by a local YouTube channel used a mirrored version of the clip. 

Niedersachsen arrived in Baltimore on Sept. 10, 2014 as part of the commemoration of the battle that birthed the United States national anthem. This was also the ship’s final deployment before it was decommissioned

Germany was among the countries that expressed concern over the Feb. 6 incident in Ayungin Shoal when the China Coast Guard directed a military-grade laser at a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel. 

In a March 8 forum, German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel mentioned the gray zone operations in the South China Sea and said Germany started partnering with the PCG in countering “activities that undermine the international rules-based order.” 

The false video came out six days after German lawmaker Gabriele Katmarek visited the Philippine Coast Guard and met with experts to discuss recent developments in the South China Sea and future maritime engagements.

YouTube channel Ella Vloggs’ (created on Feb. 15, 2019) video has 9,859 views as of writing. This is the seventh time that VERA Files Fact Check debunked a video from this channel. (Read U.S. DID NOT donate 1,000 military tanks to the Philippines)

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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