FACT CHECK: Does This Map Show All The Ships Waiting To Dock Off China’s Coast?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a map depicting hundreds of ships off the coast of China that are unable to dock due to the country’s COVID-19 policies.

Verdict: Misleading

While the map does show ships along the Chinese coast, not all of the ships are waiting to dock. Many of the ships are passenger vessels and fishing boats, according to the website MarineTraffic.

Fact Check:

Several Chinese cities are in the midst of strict lockdowns as the country faces its worst COVID-19 outbreak since the pandemic began, according to Fortune. The lockdowns have strained international shipping as an estimated one in five cargo ships are stuck in traffic outside of congested ports, the outlet reported.

One image shared on Facebook claims to show the marine congestion in China. It shows what appears to be a marine traffic map in which hundreds of different colored dots appear off the country’s coast. “Ships waiting to dock because of China’s insane COVID strategy,” reads the image’s caption. “This is international.”

This claim is misleading. While the map does show ships off the coast of China, not all of them are waiting to dock. (RELATED: Does This Image Show ‘All Sitting Ships’ Waiting To At Ports?)

The map is from MarineTraffic, a website that tracks ships worldwide using satellite receivers and receiving stations. The green icons represent cargo ships, while circled dots signify the ship is anchored and arrows suggest the ship is in motion, according to the website. Other ships, including fishing boats and passenger vessels, are marked in different colors.

“Most of the vessels pictured are not waiting to dock,” MarineTraffic spokesperson Georgios Hatzimanolis told USA Today. “Many of them are fishing vessels and other types of vessels that are not waiting to dock.” He further explained that the traffic level visible on the map is not unusual for China, which is the world’s largest exporter.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter


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