VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Indonesia did NOT blow up 60 Chinese ships


A video posted on YouTube and Facebook (FB) falsely claims that the Indonesian government sunk 60 Chinese ships that were fishing in their territory last March 29. 

Filipino YouTube channel Maki Trip and Facebook (FB) page Military TodaysTodayss uploaded the untrue “breaking news” report on April 1. Its headline read: 

CHINA NAGKAMALI NG BINANGGA! INDONESIA BIGLANG PUMALAG! PINAGBOBOMBA ANG MGA BARKO NG CHINA! LAGOT (China messed with the wrong country! Indonesia fought back! Blew up China’s ships! Oh no)!”

No such event happened.

Traced via reverse image search and cursory searches, the eight-minute video showed three separate instances from 2015 to 2016 when Indonesia sank various illegal fishing vessels. 

The clips featured these events:

Indonesian authorities had sunk 60 vessels in one event in 2016 to mark its Independence Day but authorities refused to disclose the ships’ countries of origin.

The erroneous video appeared two days after the Philippine Coast Guard announced on March 30 that its vessel, the BRP Malapascua, spotted several Chinese and Vietnamese vessels along the Kalayaan Island Group. 

The false video by FB page Military TodaysTodayss (created on Feb. 16, 2023) got a total of 10.6 million interactions, while the original video from YouTube channel Maki Trips (created on March 13, 2019) garnered 116,662 interactions.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)