FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show ‘All Sitting Ships’ Waiting To Dock At Ports?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook over 15,000 times allegedly shows “all sitting ships” waiting off the coast to dock at various ports.

Verdict: Misleading

While some of the ships in the image are stationary, most of them are actually moving. The arrow-shaped ship icon means a given vessel is in transit.

Fact Check:

Social media users have recently been sharing a screen grab of what appears to be a maritime traffic map showing parts of North America and South America. There are icons of various shapes and colors scattered across it. This particular Facebook user claims that it depicts “all sitting ships” and that “things are about to get real.”

The image comes from MarineTraffic.com, a website that provides real-time information about ships and their movements. But, contrary to the Facebook post’s claim, it does not show “all sitting ships.” (RELATED: Image Makes Misleading Comparison Between Donald Trump And Joe Biden’s HBCU Funding)

The shape of the vessel icon indicates whether it is moving or not, with the arrow representing a moving ship and the circle representing a stopped ship, according to an explanatory article on MarineTraffic.com. The color of the icon indicates what type of vessel each ship on the map is, the vessel filters feature shows. In the image being shared online, most of the vessels appear to be moving, given that their icons are arrow-shaped.

“The arrows and spots you see on the MarineTraffic.com map indicate both moving and idle ships, arrows means they are moving, dots mean they are stationary,” Georgios Hatzimanolis, a media strategist for MarineTraffic, said in an email to Check Your Fact. “Therefore it is a false claim that all these ships are just ‘sitting’.”

Ships have been experiencing bottlenecks at some California ports such as Los Angeles and Long Beach, according to CNBC. The backups have been caused by multiple factors, including increased consumer demand for certain goods and a lack of skilled longshoremen, the outlet reported.

The White House on Oct. 12 released a fact sheet detailing efforts being taken to help ease the shipping backups, such as expanding port hours of operation.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].