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Fact Check-Screenshot does not show ships waiting to dock at U.S. ports

A screenshot shared widely on Facebook does not show hundreds of ships waiting to dock at U.S. ports, despite claims made online.

The screenshot appears to match the mobile interface of Marine Traffic’s live map, which monitors the movements and current locations of ships around the world ( here ).

One post on Facebook had over 15,000 shares at the time of publication and a caption reading, “All sitting ships... I don’t care what y’all say things are about to get real. Welcome to the next Trojan horse.” ( here ).

“Yeah been saying this for awhile [sic] now... People better be getting [sic] prepared. It’s about to get real,” one individual said in the comments. Another added: “This is just all part of their evil agenda. It’s a lot bigger than politics people. If you don’t have food stocked up I would highly advise buying some just to put back.”

The image does not show hundreds of ships waiting to dock at U.S. ports, however.

The icons, map and colors appear to match Marine Traffic’s website, bit.ly/3atG5Ev .

“This image of our map, centered on the Americas, shows all vessels currently transmitting their position via AIS,” Georgios Hatzimanolis, media strategist at Marine Traffic told Reuters.

“While there are documented issues with ships waiting at anchorage at U.S. ports, this is not the case with this image. They are clearly not all “sitting ships” as the vast majority of them are in fact in transit,” he added.

The different colored pointed icons represent various kinds of ships which are in movement, including cargo vessels (green), tankers (red), and passenger vessels (blue).

This differs from ships that are anchored which are represented with circular icons and can be seen ( bit.ly/3auMLBY ).

Current locations ships around the U.S. coast according to Marine Traffic is viewable ( bit.ly/3auMLBY ). ‘My Ship Tracking’ and ‘Vessel Finder’ are similar websites that track the location of ships ( www.myshiptracking.com/ ), ( www.vesselfinder.com/ ).

Marine Traffic creates density maps, which shows the most travelled sea routes in 2019 and 2020 ( bit.ly/3lxAEdJ ).

It is true that there have been shipping backlogs and disruptions at ports. On October 8, 2021, there were 86 at anchor or drift areas and 64 at berths at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach, according to the Marine Exchange of Southern California ( here ).

The Port of Los Angeles-Long Beach complex handles approximately 40% of all inbound containers for the United States ( here ).

Incoming cargo at the Port of Los Angeles is up 30% from last year’s record levels. ( here )

Supply chain issues have led companies such as Walmart to charter their own vessels in an attempt to beat the disruption ( here ).

Reuters has previously addressed the claim that supply chain disruptions at recent U.S. ports have been purposely orchestrated by the U.S. government ( here ).

VERDICT

Partly false. A screenshot shared online does not show hundreds of ships waiting to dock at U.S. ports. The icons represent up-to-date locations of ships, most of which are moving, according to the marine traffic website.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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