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Photo from 2014 linked to Greece boat tragedy

The photo was taken on 18 July 2014 by a product tanker shipping company 

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Claim: A photo shows a boat overcrowded with migrants sinking in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Pylos, Greece.

Fact: The photo is from July 2014, when a shipping company TORM, involved in search and rescue operations, rescued migrants from the Mediterranean Sea.

Fact or Fiction?

On 17 June 2023, Megh Updates (@MeghUpdates) shared multiple photos claiming that it shows a boat that capsized off the coast of Pylos in Greece on 9 June 2023.

Soch Fact Check reverse-image searched one of the photos and found multiple articles that used the image as a file photo.

We searched Getty Images with the search term “migrants” and came across a similar photo of a vessel published on 20 July 2014.

“A boat carrying the bodies of dead migrants is towed into the Maritime base in Malta on July 20, 2014. Italian and Maltese rescuers found 18 bodies on an overcrowded migrant boat yesterday, with Italian officials blaming toxic fumes from the engine and the Maltese military saying there could have been a stampede.Three asylum-seekers were evacuated by Italian coastguards and rushed to hospital. One of them died on the way and two others were in a serious condition, officials said. The boat is estimated to have had 400 people on board and was first spotted by a Danish ship south of the Italian island of Lampedusa in waters between Libya and Malta. AFP PHOTO / MATTHEW MIRABELLI (Photo credit should read Matthew Mirabelli/AFP via Getty Images),” the photo is captioned.

A Google search with the term “A boat carrying the bodies of dead migrants is towed into the Maritime base in Malta on July 20, 2014 Matthew Mirabelli” turned up multiple reports by Times of Malta; here, here, here, here and here

Based on key indicators, Soch Fact Check ascertained that the Getty photo and the photos published by Times of Malta are from the same incident.

The reverse-image search also turned up an article from 9 December 2014 that also carried the same photo. The photo credits have been given to TORM A/S. A Google search revealed it’s a product tanker shipping company that carries clean oil products such as gasoline, jet fuel, naphtha and diesel oil and other clean products. 

We found the company’s contact details and got in touch with them via email to verify the authenticity of the photo. Joakim Nørholm Vasehus, Head of Communications at TORM, told Soch Fact Check that they performed several search and rescue operations during 2014. “Further, I found internal newsletter updates using the same image, confirming that it was taken by TORM crew on board the tanker vessel TORM Lotte on 18 July 2014,” Vasehus said.

He also shared that, “564 refugees were rescued from the pictured ship and taken on board our vessel, brought to safety in Messina, Italy a few days later.”

Soch Fact Check concluded that the image was taken on 18 July 2014.

Virality:

The photo was posted here on Facebook.

Conclusion: The photo has been wrongly linked to the Greece boat tragedy. It is from July 2014 when a boat was spotted south of the Italian island of Lampedusa in waters between Libya and Malta, and a majority of the migrants onboard were rescued.

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