Old footage of Norwegian ship exploding misattributed to Red Sea attack

21 May 2024
What was claimed

A video shows an explosion on the US destroyer Mason in the Red Sea following a direct hit by Houthi forces in Yemen.

Our verdict

This is false. The footage is a decade old, and actually depicts a Norwegian missile test on a decommissioned frigate.

A video which falsely claims to show an American destroyer being hit by a missile in the Red Sea earlier this month, has been online for over a decade.

The footage has been shared more than a thousand times on X (formerly Twitter), and also on Facebook, with the caption: “BREAKING: The #US destroyer 'Mason' was precisely hit in the Red Sea. 

“For the first time, the military spokesperson of the Yemeni Armed Forces, Brigadier Yahya Saree, announces a direct hit on the destroyer, indicating a shift from warnings to direct targeting. #Yemen Conflict."

There have reportedly been more than 40 attacks on ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 2023, following the outbreak of the current Israel-Gaza conflict. The attacks are being conducted by the Houthis,  an Iranian-backed rebel group which considers Israel an enemy.

The Houthis had reportedly targeted the USS Mason last week but the American vessel successfully intercepted the anti-ship missile and did not suffer any damage

The video included with the post uses old footage of a test naval missile strike carried out by the Norwegian navy in June 2013.

It shows a decommissioned frigate, the KNM Trondheim, being blown up in the sea off the coast of Andoy in Norway as part of an exercise by the Norwegian navy to test the accuracy of a long-range missile.

Full Fact has seen a number of images and videos circulating on social media which misleadingly claim to show events in the Red Sea and Yemen. It’s important to consider whether something shows what it claims to before sharing it—you can read more about this in our guide to fact checking misleading videos relating to the Israel-Gaza conflict.

Image courtesy of Mark König/Unsplash

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