Video does not show U.S. ship sunk by Houthi missile

By: John Faerseth
January 19 2024

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Video does not show U.S. ship sunk by Houthi missile

Source: Tiktok/Screenshot modified by Logically Facts


The Verdict False

The video is from 2022, and shows a derelict cargo ship sunk by U.S. Air Force as part of a test. It is not connected to the current conflict.

Claim ID 163da8c7


Several TikTok users have shared a video of a ship sinking after being hit by a missile or bomb. The caption reads: "Yemen live updates: Houthi missile hits US-owned ship off Yemen coast – US officials," followed by emoticons indicating panic. 

However, the video is actually from April 2022 and is not connected to the current conflict in the Red Sea. 

In fact 

A reverse image search shows that the clip is an excerpt from a video of the U.S. Air Force testing a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bomb. The demonstration took place in the Gulf of Mexico on April 28, 2022, and the video was first published on May 2. The ship is an old, derelict cargo ship named the Courageous. It was hit by a 2,000-pound JDAM, which was dropped by an  F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft. 

Comparison of the viral video with footage of a JDAM bomb demonstration in April 2022. (Source: TikTok/YouTube/Screenshots/Composite by Logically Facts)

The demonstration was part of the QUICKSINK program, a partnership between the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Navy to develop more cost-effective anti-ship weapons that can sink ships from the air. 

On its website, the U.S. Air Force describes JDAM bombs as a guidance tail kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurate "smart" munitions through the addition of a new tail section containing a navigational system and global positioning system guidance control unit that makes the JDAM autonomously navigate to the designated target coordinates. 

The Houthi rebels are one of two main factions in Yemen's ongoing civil war. They hijacked a commercial ship in the Red Sea on November 19 and have since attacked more than two dozen other commercial ships with missiles and speed boats. 

According to the Houthis, they are targeting ships that are Israeli-owned, flagged, or operated, or are heading to Israeli ports. However, many have no connections with Israel. As a result, major shipping companies have stopped using the Read Sea and have been forced to use a longer route around Southern Africa. 

The U.S. announced a joint operation in response to the attacks on shipping on December 18, 2023. The U.S. and U.K. have conducted air strikes in Yemen since January 12. On January 15, an American cargo ship was struck by a Houthi missile but did not report significant damage. 

The verdict

The video shows the U.S. Air Force demonstrating a "quicksink" bomb on a derelict cargo ship in April 2022. It is not connected to the current Middle East conflict. We have therefore marked this claim as false. 

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