FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A September 2021 Shipping Backlog On The West Coast?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows hundreds of cargo ships waiting off the West Coast in September 2021.

Verdict: False

The footage, which dates back to February, actually shows ships near Bangladesh.

Fact Check:

A seemingly unprecedented number of cargo vessels have been sitting off the coast of Southern California this month while waiting to enter ports, Business Insider reported. The backlog of ships has stemmed from increased consumer demand for home improvement materials and other goods, as well as restocking efforts by retail companies whose inventories had gone down earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The post features a TikTok video of swaths of ships floating motionless in the sea and attempts to suggest with text in the video that it shows the “shipping backlog on the west coast.” Text also questions whether the backlog is “intentional.” However, the footage is actually over six months old and was not shot near any of the U.S.’s coasts. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Ships Waiting In The Suez Canal While It Was Blocked In March 2021?)

A user posted a longer version of the footage on LinkedIn back in February with the caption saying: “Fascinating site witnessed early hours yesterday while on a short flight from Port City Chittagong to Dhaka …. because of current global context and due to less bb imports most of lighter barges become unemployed and anchored. for sure they are not maintaining social distances as it appears!” Dhaka and Chittagong are both Bangladeshi cities.

The LinkedIn user who posted it confirmed to AFP that he took it on a flight in February from Chittagong to Dhaka. Check Your Fact previously debunked a false claim that the video showed ships waiting to sail through Egypt’s Suez Canal after the container ship Ever Given got stuck in the waterway in March.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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