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Another old image passed off as Houthi attack on ship in Red Sea

Multiple misleading images, videos have been shared in context of recent Houthi attacks

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Claim: An image shows a vessel on fire after being attacked by Yemen’s Houthi group in the Red Sea.

Fact: The image is old. Neither does it show the aftermath of a Houthi attack, nor was it “breaking news” in 2023.

On 31 December 2023, X (formerly Twitter) user Mario Nawfal — @MarioNawfal — posted (archive) a picture of a vessel on fire, claiming that it showed “a ship has been attacked off Yemen’s coast” by the Houthis.

“U.S. coalition forces in the Red Sea are trying to counter these repeated Houthi attacks on ships,” wrote Nawfal, who claims to share “Unfiltered Unbiased Verified 24×7 Breaking News” and whose X account is verified through its affiliation with “The Roundtable Show.”

Users affiliated with “The Roundtable Show” have previously posted misleading content about the Israel-Hamas war and the recent Houthi attacks.

Fact or Fiction?

Soch Fact Check reverse-searched the image and found it to be unrelated to any Houthi attack in 2023.

Related: Does this viral clip show Israel-bound cargo ship after attack by Yemen’s Houthis?

In fact, the image is from 2019, when a ship in the Sea of Oman caught fire. It is available on British stock photo agency Alamy (archive), with the following caption,

“In this photo released by state-run IRIB News Agency, an oil tanker is on fire in the sea of Oman, Thursday, June 13, 2019. Two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz have been reportedly attacked. The alleged assault on Thursday left one ablaze and adrift as sailors were evacuated from both vessels. The U.S. Navy rushed to assist amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran. (IRIB News Agency via AP)”

IRIB stands for Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.

The photo was also carried by CBS News, The Guardian, USA Today, and Fox News, the last of which reported,

“International Tanker Management, which operates the MT Front Altair said an explosion had caused a fire onboard. The firm told the Associated Press the incident is still being investigated and it was unclear what caused the explosion. Its 23 crew members were evacuated by the nearby South Korean-based Hyundai Dubai Vessel and are now safe, the firm said.”

A photo of the same ship but from another angle was also shared in a false context earlier and investigated by Soch Fact Check.

Houthi attacks in Bab al-Mandab Strait

Multiple cargo ships, including those carrying oil, have been attacked by Houthis in the Bab al-Mandab Strait, a narrow waterway separating Yemen and East Africa that links Europe and Asia. “An estimated 10% of the world’s trade passes [through it],” The Washington Post has reported (archive).

Also read: Viral image does not show attack on Israeli cargo ship in 2023

The publication quoted (archive) Mohammed Albukhaiti, a Houthi ruling council member, as saying, “Our war is a moral war, and therefore, no matter how many alliances America mobilizes, our military operations will not stop. Participating in a coalition to protect the perpetrators of genocidal crimes is a disgrace in the history of the participating countries.”

Albukhaiti made this statement in light of Israel’s war against Hamas.

As for the 31 December 2023 attacks, the British military’s UKMTO posted two warnings, here and here, the latter of which mentions that the “vessel and crew are safe”.

“The vessel has exited the area and [is] continuing on its voyage to [the] next port of call,” the UKMTO added.

Virality

Soch Fact Check found two X posts — here and here — that include the images with misleading captions. The visual was also published with similar misleading claims on the websites Islamic Invitation Turkey and Islami Davet in 2023, as well as on Urdu Point in 2021.

The old image was also posted on Facebook here, here, and here.

Conclusion: The image does not show the aftermath of a recent Houthi attack, but a ship on fire in the Sea of Oman in 2019.


Background image in cover photo: Venti Views


To appeal against our fact-check, please send an email to appeals@sochfactcheck.com

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