Military exercise in Atlantic misattributed to U.S. warships off Yemen

By: Emmi Kivi
January 22 2024

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Military exercise in Atlantic misattributed to U.S. warships off Yemen

Source: TikTok/X/Screenshot


The Verdict False

The video is from 2021 and shows a U.K.-U.S. joint exercise in the North Atlantic; it is unrelated to the current clashes in the Red Sea.

Claim ID 54c52f84

What is the claim?

Amid the Israel-Hamas conflict, Houthi rebels have attacked vessels in the Red Sea against Israeli air and ground offensives in the Gaza Strip. On January 11, U.S. and U.K. militaries launched strikes against Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen after the Biden administration and allies warned Houthis to halt attacks on vessels in the Red Sea, or risk targeted military action. 

A video clip filmed from a vessel showing a naval fleet accompanied by helicopters circulated online with the video displaying a U.S. fleet of warships off the coast of Yemen. An example of a post reads, “BREAKING: Massive United States fleet of warships seen off the coast of Yemen.” 

Another post caption stated: “Footage from earlier of U.S. / U.K. naval force en route to slam Houthi rebel targets in Yemen with cruise missiles & airstrikes. Houthis want WWIII? We’ll usher it in with style.”

Logically Facts found that the footage shows a 2021 U.K.-U.S. joint exercise in the North Atlantic.

What we found

A reverse image search of some of the keyframes of the footage led us to a Reddit article published eight months ago with the same video, predating the current conflicts in the Red Sea.

We investigated the comments on the Reddit post, some of which stated it was even older. “This is from 2021. It was a photo op/power projection with the Queen Elizabeth and her strike group,” said one user, with a reply asking if it was from IWOARG [Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group], which another Reddit user affirmed.

With these added clues, Logically Facts found an article by the WarZone headlined, “British Carrier Joins U.S. Amphibious Forces In North Atlantic In A Vision Of What’s To Come,” published May 19, 2021. The article includes matching images to the viral footage. It discloses it was captured during joint exercises with the British Royal Navy, U.S. Navy, and forces from the U.S. Marine Corps in the North Atlantic in May 2021.

Screenshot of article by WarZone, published May 2021 with matching footage to viral claim. (Source: WarZone)

The article also stated that vessels from the French Navy and the Royal Norwegian Navy were taking part in the exercise, as was the HMS Queen Elizabeth, aircraft carrier. Both the vessel, helicopter formation and skyline match the viral footage. 

Screenshot on left shows the viral video. Image on right is shows screenshot of Warzone article, published May 2021. (Source: X/WarZone)

Logically Facts contacted the British Royal Navy to inquire on the origins of the footage. A Royal Navy representative confirmed to Logically Facts after viewing the footage, “That is definitely a Queen Elizabeth-class carrier in the footage. And the U.K. does not have any carriers off the coast of Yemen (both ships are currently in their home base in the U.K.). As HMS Albion is also in the footage, this could be from an exercise from mid-May 2021, which was pre-deployment training for the carrier group.”

The verdict

The footage does not show a fleet of U.S. warships off the coast of Yemen; the video is from 2021 and shows a U.K.-U.S. joint exercise in the North Atlantic. Therefore, we have marked the claim as false.

Read this fact-check in:

English , Svenska

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before