Old photo shows an explosion on a German warship near Norway not Yemen

25 April 2024
What was claimed

A photo shows the aftermath of an explosion on a German warship that was retreating from Yemen after a failed mission.

Our verdict

Incorrect. The photo was taken in 2018 after a German warship misfired a missile during a training exercise off the coast of Norway.

A photo showing flames and smoke coming from a ship has been shared on social media with the caption “German warship retreats from Yemen after unsuccessful mission.”

But this is an old photo and does not show a ship anywhere near Yemen.

The picture is actually a screenshot from a video of an explosion on a German warship caused by a misfired missile during a training exercise off the coast of Norway in 2018. Two German sailors reportedly suffered minor injuries and an image of the aftermath shared by the German navy showed part of the damage done to the ship.

A German warship did reportedly leave the Red Sea (which is off the coast of Yemen) in April 2024, after it was deployed there in February as part of an EU mission to protect ships from attacks by Houthi rebels (an Iran-backed rebel group in the country). 

However, the ship that departed in April is a different warship to the one shown in the photo. The Federal German Ship (FGS) Hessen recently left the Red Sea, while FGS Saschen is the one shown in the picture on social media. Hessen reportedly concluded its deployment “on schedule” with no reports of any explosions. Another German warship is due to join the mission in August.  

There have reportedly been more than 40 attacks launched on commercial ships in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden since November 2023 by Houthis. 

Full Fact has also seen old footage of incidents in the waters of Brazil, Sri Lanka and the Eastern Pacific Ocean that have been shared with false claims they’re from the Red Sea. 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 Dirtsc

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