Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Somali Pirates 'Messing With Russian Ship'

Fact Check

  • by: Alexis Tereszcuk
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Somali Pirates 'Messing With Russian Ship' Not Russian

Does a video show Somali pirates "messing" with a Russian ship? No, that's not true: The video includes footage from a Spike TV show in 2010 showing the U.S. Navy firing at Somali pirates in small boats, and footage of the U.S. Coast Guard sinking a Japanese fishing boat. Neither clip shows Somali pirates "messing" with a Russian ship.

The claim appeared in a video on Facebook on August 13, 2022, with the title "Somali pirates messing with Russian Ship." It opened with footage of several people in a small boat in the open waters.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2022-08-15 at 13.32.50.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Aug 15 20:37:07 2022 UTC)

The Facebook account that posted the video describes itself as a "Gaming video creator" with the page manager locations listed as Indonesia and the United States.

There is no indication anywhere that any of the vessels shown during the 5:30 video are Russian. The video opens showing a yellow-and-black-striped small boat on the water. There is no narration, just voices speaking, natural sounds and dramatic music at the end. There is a logo from the now-defunct Spike TV network on the lower right part of the screen. In 2018 Spike TV was renamed and relaunched as the Paramount Network.

At 20 seconds into the video, a person is seen loading ammunition into a mounted automatic weapon in a helicopter over the ocean, and shots are fired into the water. This matches the footage aired in the trailer for the Spike TV show, which was titled "U.S. Navy: Pirate Hunters." Beginning at 0:14 in the trailer, a solider is seen loading bullets into a weapon from a helicopter and firing into the ocean in what appears to be the same scene.

Screen Shot 2022-08-15 at 5.13.12 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Mon Aug 15 22:58:13 2022 UTC)

The footage from the Spike TV show is played throughout the video posted on Facebook. It shows U.S. military members in the video but not a Russian ship. From the IMDb summary of the show:

In the premiere one hour special of "U.S. Navy: Pirate Hunters", from Spike TV ... the viewer follows alongside as the film team chronicles the Navy's efforts to restore order to the turbulent waters in The Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia. Claiming the gulf as part of the Somalia domain, pirates take boats out and, disguised as fishermen, confront merchant shipping to steal cargo and take crews hostage for ransom demands of millions of dollars.

The footage beginning at 4:05 in the video does not show Somali pirates or a Russian boat but footage of the U.S. Coast Guard sinking a Japanese fishing boat in 2012. That video can be found on the Department of Defense website, where the caption of the boat sinking reads:

The Japanese fishing vessel Ryou-Un Maru burns in the Gulf of Alaska.
The Japanese fishing vessel Ryou-Un Maru burns in the Gulf of Alaska after the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Anacapa (WPB 1335) (right) fired on it with explosive ammunition on April 5, 2012. The Coast Guard sank the derelict trawler after determining that it posed a threat to navigation in the region. The ship had been moored in Hokkaido, Japan, and was destined for scrapping when a magnitude 9.0 earthquake struck the country in March 2011, triggering a tsunami that set the vessel adrift.

A photograph of the ship sinking from the Department of Defense can be seen here:

Screen Shot 2022-08-15 at 1.57.11 PM.png

(Source: Department of Defense website taken Mon Aug 15 20:48:32 2022 UTC)

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  Alexis Tereszcuk

Alexis Tereszcuk is a writer and fact checker at Lead Stories and an award-winning journalist who spent over a decade breaking hard news and celebrity scoop with RadarOnline and Us Weekly.

As the Entertainment Editor, she investigated Hollywood stories and conducted interviews with A-list celebrities and reality stars.  

Alexis’ crime reporting earned her spots as a contributor on the Nancy Grace show, CNN, Fox News and Entertainment Tonight, among others.

Read more about or contact Alexis Tereszcuk

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