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Claim: A video claims an American warship is at Pag-asa Island, positioned to expel Chinese ships in the area.
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.
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:
- FACT CHECK: No Italian warship sent to West Philippine Sea
(July 13, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: No Japanese ship sent to West Philippine Sea
(July 8, 2023)
- FACT CHECK: Video doesn’t show ‘USS Ronald Reagan’ in Mindanao
(June 28, 2023)
– Lorenz Pasion/Rappler.com
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