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FACT CHECK: US Coast Guard did not escort Chinese ship back to mainland China


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FACT CHECK: US Coast Guard did not escort Chinese ship back to mainland China
The video provides no evidence in support of its claim. Neither the US nor China has released any statement regarding the supposed incident.

Claim: The US Coast Guard escorted a Chinese Navy fuel tanker back to mainland China.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: As of writing, the video containing the claim has 75,869 views, 1,700 likes, and 399 comments. It was posted on June 22 by a YouTube channel with 350,000 subscribers.

The video is titled: “Naku po! Fuel tanker ng Chinese Navy inescortan ng US Coast Guard pabalik sa mainland China (Oh no! The Chinese Navy’s fuel tanker is escorted back to mainland China by the US Coast Guard).”

While the video does not specify where the incident supposedly occurred, the caption states that the US allegedly deployed the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Benfold to Ayungin Shoal.

Several viewers believe the video to be true, as seen in several comments thanking the US Coast Guard for supposedly helping the Philippines.

The bottom line: The video provides no evidence in support of its claim. No official statements were issued by the Philippine Coast Guard, US Coast Guard, or China Coast Guard on the supposed incident. There are no news reports related to the video’s claims.

The US Navy’s supposed deployment of the USS Benfold near Ayungin Shoal is also false. The vessel has not been recently sighted in the West Philippine Sea. According to a January 2024 news release, the guided-missile destroyer is stationed in Yokosuka, Japan for maintenance upgrades. 

The USS Benfold returned to Yokosuka in August 2023 after conducting maritime patrols and exercises in the Indo-Pacific with allied forces, including the Royal Canadian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force.

Recent tensions: The misleading video merely highlighted the ongoing tensions between China and the Philippines following a June 17 collision in Ayungin Shoal.

During the Philippines’ routine resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre, its outpost in Ayungin Shoal, the China Coast Guard rammed Philippine vessels, as seen in videos released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). It was the most violent confrontation between the two countries’ forces in the shoal, with a Filipino soldier losing his thumb in the incident, according to the AFP.

The Philippines has filed a protest over China’s “aggressive and illegal use of force.” On July 2, the two countries met for the Bilateral Consultation Mechanism on the South China Sea. 


Incidents of Chinese harassment and aggression have risen in recent months, as China refuses to recognize the 2016 arbitral ruling that affirmed the extent of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. (READ: [ANALYSIS] China’s increased coercive activities in the WPS: Recalibrating the PH’s security response)

US support: The US has reiterated its “ironclad commitment” to support the Philippines amid escalating tensions in the South China Sea. Earlier in April 2024, two US senators introduced a bipartisan bill that would provide Manila with $2.5 billion in funding over five years to modernize its armed forces. 

Washington has also consistently condemned Beijing’s actions and expressed its support for Manila. In response to the Ayungin incident, US Ambassador to Manila MaryKay Carlson on June 26 urged China to “cease harassment of Philippine vessels lawfully operating in the Philippine exclusive economic zones.”

Fact checks: Rappler previously published fact-checks on the South China Sea dispute:

– Shane Cameron/Rappler.com

Shane Cameron is a Rappler intern. She is studying Development Communication at the University of the Philippines Los Baños. This fact check was reviewed by a member of Rappler’s research team and a senior editor.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time. 

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