Fact checks on militaries

FACT CHECK: Video shows shipment of US combat equipment to Italy, not PH


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FACT CHECK: Video shows shipment of US combat equipment to Italy, not PH
The video shows the shipment of 400 pieces of military equipment from the Port of Livorno in Italy, not its arrival at Subic Bay

Claim: The cargo ship AAL Kembla has arrived at the port of Subic Bay carrying military equipment, including 400 weapons and missiles.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The video bearing the claim has 1,067 views and 78 likes as of writing. It was uploaded by a YouTube channel purporting to provide US military updates.

The video’s description reads: “The cargo ship AAL Kembla, carrying various military equipment, has arrived at the port of Subic Bay, Philippines. The ship is carrying more than 640 pieces of combat equipment, including vehicles such as military trucks and 400 cargoes of weapons and missiles.”

The video also describes the AAL Kembla as a vessel of the Royal Australian Navy, and that a second vessel, the USNS Bob Hope, is set to arrive in Subic Bay.

The facts: The video shows a shipment of military equipment from a port in Italy, not to the Philippines.

Clips from the misleading video, such as those at the 0:49 to 0:57 mark, were taken from a video posted last April by the US Army’s 21st Theater Sustainment Command

Contrary to the claim, the video shows over 400 pieces of US military equipment being shipped from the Port of Livorno in Italy to multiple forward operating sites across Europe on March 24. 

Along with the Italian Armed Forces and Livorno Port authorities, multiple US Army units conducted the shipment operation to support NATO’s deterrence efforts.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of National Defense, US Navy, and US Defense Security Cooperation Agency have not released any official statement about the supposed delivery of military equipment to the Philippines. There are also no news reports related to the video’s claims.

AAL Kembla Cargo Ship: The AAL Kembla cargo ship does not have any recent history of arrival at any port in the Philippines. The vessel is under AAL Shipping, a cargo shipping company based in Liberia, contradicting the claim that it is a vessel of the Royal Australian Navy. As of writing, the current location of AAL Kembla is within the waters of West Africa.


USNS Bob Hope: The misleading video briefly mentions the supposed arrival of the USNS Bob Hope to the Philippines, carrying various military vehicles and equipment. As of writing, a maritime live map shows the USNS Bob Hope at the Gulf of Mexico. 

US aid to PH: The video falsely claimed that the delivery of military equipment was US aid to Manila amid ongoing tensions with Beijing in the South China Sea. The US has consistently reiterated its “ironclad commitment” to support its ally, as China continues to reject a 2016 arbitral ruling invalidating its extensive claims in the disputed waterway. 

In February, the US donated a second-hand C-130 transport plane to boost the Philippine Air Force’s cargo airlift fleet. Last April, two US senators also introduced a bipartisan bill seeking $2.5 billion in funding over five years to modernize the Philippines’ armed forces.

Fact checks: Rappler has debunked several false posts claiming US aid to the Philippines:

– Shane Cameron/Rappler.com

Shane Cameron is a Rappler intern. She is studying Development Communication at the University of the Philippines Los Baños.

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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