Fact checks on militaries

FACT CHECK: US, PH did not destroy Chinese ship in Escoda Shoal


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FACT CHECK: US, PH did not destroy Chinese ship in Escoda Shoal
No reputable sources support the claim that US and Philippine forces surrounded and destroyed China’s ‘monster ship’ in Escoda, also known as Sabina Shoal

Claim: US and Philippine forces surrounded and destroyed a Chinese ship in Escoda Shoal, also known as Sabina Shoal.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube video containing the claim has garnered 891 views and 34 likes as of writing. It was posted on July 7 by a YouTube channel with 34,100 subscribers. 

The title of the video states: “Tension! US and Philippine forces surround and destroy Chinese CCG Ship intruding Escoda Shoal area.”

The bottom line: There are no reports of the US and Philippines destroying a Chinese ship in Escoda Shoal. The defense departments of the US, Philippines, and China have not made any announcements confirming the supposed incident. 

The claim comes amid reports that China’s largest coastguard vessel, CCG 5901, entered Manila’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) on July 2 and dropped anchor at the shoal on July 3. The 165-meter ‘monster ship,’ the largest coast guard vessel in the world, traveled to Ayungin Shoal, then Mischief Reef, and then to Escoda Shoal. 

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said it has been constantly sending radio challenges warning the Chinese vessel that it was inside the Philippines’ EEZ. PCG spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela said, “It’s an intimidation on the part of the China Coast Guard.”

“We’re not going to pull out and we’re not going to be intimidated,” he added.


Escoda Shoal: Escoda Shoal is a coral reef formation located 75 nautical miles off Palawan, within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile EEZ. 

In April, the PCG’s largest and most modern vessel, the BRP Teresa Magbanua, was deployed to the shoal to monitor suspected Chinese reclamation activities. Despite the presence of the Philippine vessel, China conducted a military exercise and harassed Filipino scientists and PCG personnel during a marine scientific research mission. 

China claims most of the South China Sea despite a 2016 ruling by The Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration which said Beijing’s claims had no legal basis.

Fact-checked: Rappler has debunked numerous posts related to maritime tensions between the Philippines and China: 

 – Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo is a Rappler intern. She is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science with a major in International Relations and Foreign Service at the University of San Carlos, Cebu.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to the #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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