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FACT CHECK: Video shows US ship in Mediterranean Sea, not Pag-asa Island


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FACT CHECK: Video shows US ship in Mediterranean Sea, not Pag-asa Island
The USS James E. Williams is currently at the Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia after its seven-month NATO deployment in the Mediterranean

Claim: A video claims an American warship is at Pag-asa Island, positioned to expel Chinese ships in the area.

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The YouTube post containing the claim has over 4,000 views as of writing. 

The channel that posted the video has over 305,000 subscribers and has been fact-checked by Rappler multiple times for repeatedly using misleading video clips for its false claims about military activities.

The bottom line: USS James E. Williams, the US Navy warship shown in the video, is not in the Philippines. It arrived in the United States on July 14 after a seven-month deployment in the Mediterranean.

Deployed in the Mediterranean: The YouTube channel that made the false claim used a video uploaded by user Brian Shipman on March 26, 2023. According to the video’s caption, the ship shown is the guided-missile destroyer USS James E. Williams sailing in the eastern Mediterranean.

A US Navy press release states that USS James E. Williams returned to Norfolk Naval Station in Virginia on July 14 after a seven-month NATO deployment through the Mediterranean Sea.

“James E. Williams led a multinational maritime group in joint operations through the Mediterranean Sea, providing forward presence, ensuring stability in the region, and supporting deterrence and defense of NATO territory.” the press release said.

The USS James E. Williams assumed flagship duties for the Standing NATO Maritime Group Two of the NATO Response Force, which focuses on deterrence, defense in the maritime domain, upholding freedom of navigation, securing maritime trade routes, and protecting communication lines.

No deployment: There are no reports from official news sources, the US embassy in the Philippines, the Philippine Navy, or the US Navy that the said the ship was deployed in Pag-asa Island. 

Last March, a Chinese navy ship and dozens of militia vessels were spotted in the vicinity of the Philippine-occupied island, about 480 kilometers west of Palawan.

The most recent visit of a US Navy group in the Philippines was Carrier Strike Group 5 (CSG 5) last month, according to a US Navy report. During the group’s visit, the Philippine Navy sent liaison naval officers to several US warships to exchange maritime logistics operations knowledge.

Previous false claims: Rappler has fact-checked similar claims on foreign ships allegedly deployed in the Philippines:

– Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com

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