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Photos from 2016 wrongly linked to Greece boat tragedy

The viral photos are from 2016


Claim: Two photos show a fishing vessel with migrants capsizing off the coast of southern Greece on 9 June 2023.

Fact: The photo is unrelated to the recent Greece boat tragedy. In fact, it is from 25 May 2016 when migrants were on a ship that capsized off the Libyan coast.

A fishing vessel carrying around 750 migrants capsized off the coast of Greece on 14 June 2023, leaving 81 dead and 104 survivors, while more than 500 people are still missing.

Fact or Fiction?

On 17 June 2023, Megh Updates (@MeghUpdates) shared multiple photos claiming that more than 300 people from Pakistan drowned off Greece’s coast in the Mediterranean Sea in a maritime accident.

“More than 300 Pakistani migrants have died in a boat accident in Greece. Witness accounts suggest between 600 and 750 people had been on the fishing boat which capsized on Wednesday morning,” the tweet reads.

In the photos, a blue vessel can be seen overturning, with many people clinging to it and others falling into the water. 

Soch Fact Check reverse-searched two photos and found an article by CNN published on 26 May 2016 that carries the same images. One of them is titled “Terrifying scene as migrant ship capsizes.”

The caption of the photo reads as follows:

“A ship crowded with people fleeing conflict in the Mideast flips onto its side Wednesday as an Italian navy ship approaches. Five people died and 500 were rescued.”

According to the report, the photos show an overcrowded boat carrying hundreds of migrants capsizing off the Libyan coast in the Mediterranean Sea after an Italian navy ship approached it.

The article states that the Italian navy confirmed about 562 migrants were rescued, and five people died in the tragedy.

Reuters also carried one of the photos, which is captioned, “Migrants are seen on a capsizing boat before a rescue operation by Italian navy ships “Bettica” and “Bergamini” off the coast of Libya in this handout picture released by the Italian Marina Militare on May 25, 2016. Marina Militare/Handout via REUTERS.”

On 15 June, a fishing boat carrying migrants sank off Greece. According to some reports, at least 300 Pakistanis were on board. However, the photos being fact-checked in this report are not related to the tragedy near Greece.


The photos were shared here, here, and here on Twitter.

Parliamentarian Nafisa Shah also posted the photo on Twitter.

On Facebook, it was posted here, here, here, here and here.

It was posted here on Instagram.

The photo was also carried by Startup Pakistan and BNN Network on their websites.

Conclusion: The photos from May 2016, when a migrant boat capsized off the Libyan coast, have been wrongly linked to the Greece boat tragedy.

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