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FACT CHECK: No US Coast Guard ship deployed vs China in West PH Sea

Rappler.com

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FACT CHECK: No US Coast Guard ship deployed vs China in West PH Sea
The misleading video uses footage of the US ship Bertholf taken during the 2019 Western Pacific patrol

Claim: A video shows the United States Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf (WMSL 750) arriving in the Philippines to confront China over its recent acts of aggression in the West Philippine Sea.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video published on December 10 has over 137,575 views and 1,400 likes as of writing.

At the 0:52 mark, the video shows the onscreen text: “America nagpadala ng Coast Guard sa Pilipinas” (America sent a Coast Guard ship to the Philippines.) 

The facts: The video of USCG Cutter Bertholf shown in the video was not taken in the Philippines. The original video was posted by YouTube user Military Base on July 20, 2019, with the title, “Action on the Ship Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf during its 2019 Western Pacific patrol.”

A Facebook post by the US Coast Guard Pacific Area shows that USCG Bertholf returned to Alameda, California, on December 25, 2019, after it spent nearly nine months under the command of the US 7th Fleet in the Western Pacific. 

Another Facebook post, published by the US 7th Fleet on June 4, 2019, shows photos of USCG Bertholf during its deployment in the Western Pacific. 

Recent visit to the Philippines: USCG Bertholf‘s most recent visit to the Philippines was on May 15, 2019, a press release from the US Indo-Pacific Command shows. 

There are no posts from USCG Bertholf‘s official Facebook page that confirm that the ship is currently in the Philippines. A December 7 post said that the ship recently underwent upgrades and is being prepared for its transit back to Alameda, California.

Maritime tensions: The misleading video was uploaded following a recent flare-up of tensions between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea. Earlier in December, Manila protested back-to-back incidents of Chinese vessels firing water cannons at Philippine ships.

China continues to stress its sovereign claims over the entire South China Sea, in defiance of the historic 2016 arbitral ruling declaring these claims baseless. – Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com

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