FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A ‘Massive Deployment’ Of Navy Ships?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows a “massive deployment” of Navy ships off the U.S. coast.

Verdict: False

The footage does not show Navy ships, according to a spokesperson for the Port of Los Angeles and the executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California. It actually shows cargo and cruise ships anchored near California’s San Pedro Bay port complex.

Fact Check:

The short video shows multiple large ships off the coast of what appears to be a highway. In the background, a woman can be heard saying that the location of the scene is near Long Beach in Southern California.

Some Facebook users shared the video alongside captions suggesting it shows military ships, with one Jan. 19 post saying, “BREAKING – Massive deployment of U.S. Navy ships off the coast of the U.S. for unknown reasons.”

The video does not show U.S. Navy ships, according to a spokesperson for the Port of Los Angeles and the executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California. The Marine Exchange of Southern California is a nonprofit organization that “operates the Vessel Traffic Service for the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach,” according to its Facebook page.

“The video circulating online shows cargo and cruise ships waiting at anchor outside the San Pedro Bay port complex, which includes both the Port of Los Angeles and Port of Long Beach,” Rachel Campbell, media relations manager for the Port of Los Angeles, told Check Your Fact via email. “They are not military vessels.”

Kip Louttit, executive director of the Marine Exchange of Southern California and Vessel Traffic Service Los Angeles and Long Beach, also confirmed in an email that “they’re not Navy ships or tankers.” (RELATED: Did Nancy Pelosi Say Soldiers Overseas Should Not Be Able To Vote Because ‘They Don’t Even Live Here’?)

“This time they are mostly container ships carrying everything that everyone has ordered since they are staying home… home gym equipment, home office furniture, home improvement supplies and paint,” Louttit told Check Your Fact. “That plus all the usual stuff people order that is manufactured overseas.”

A Facebook user posted the same video on Jan. 18, claiming she had filmed it two day earlier. The Long Beach Post reported in mid-January that dozens of container ships were anchored off the coast of Long Beach while waiting to dock, including about 30 ships on Jan. 15. The Los Angeles and Long Beach ports have been experiencing a backlog, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Demand [is] up,” Louttit explained to Check Your Fact. “Conversely, the ports and its workers are less efficient than they should be due to COVID-19 protocols. Between the 2, backup.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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