Fact Check

Did Navy SEALs Raid Cargo Ship Full of Smuggled Children?

The raid allegedly occurred in Long Beach, California.

Published Nov 10, 2021

 (Rudolphous/Wikimedia Commons)
Image Via Rudolphous/Wikimedia Commons
Claim:
Navy SEALs raided a cargo ship off the coast of Long Beach, California, and rescued hundreds of smuggled foreign children.

On Nov. 2, 2021, Real Raw News published an article positing that U.S. Navy SEALs raided a cargo ship off the coast of Long Beach, California, and rescued 200 foreign children who were being smuggled. 

NAVY SEALs Raid Cargo Ship Full of Smuggled Children

Navy SEALs on Tuesday launched a predawn raid on one of the hundreds of cargo vessels, a Hong Kong-flagged bulk carrier called the Morning Star, anchored off Long Beach, California, and rescued 200 foreign children who had been imprisoned in a decrepit cargo hold, said a military adjunct under promise of anonymity.

Alas, the SEALs also recovered the bodies of 12 dead children, our source added.

This item was not a factual recounting of real-life events. The article originated with a website that describes its output as being humorous or satirical in nature, as follows:

"Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel."

The post also claims that U.S. Special Operations got a tip from “someone” at Mar-a-Lago, "with credible evidence of [child trafficking' on the vessel."

There is no evidence that such a raid occurred. No major news organization has picked up on this story if it were true. We also looked through Marine Traffic, a vessel tracking database, for a cargo ship named Morning Star at Long Beach, and found no records. The U.S. Navy also made no announcements about such a raid taking place. 

For background, here is why we sometimes write about satire/humor.


Sources:

Baxter, Michael. “NAVY SEALs Raid Cargo Ship Full of Smuggled Children.” Real Raw News, 2 Nov. 2021, https://realrawnews.com/2021/11/navy-seals-raid-cargo-ship-full-of-smuggled-children/.

"Press Releases." United States Navy, https://www.navy.mil/Press-Office/Press-Releases/. Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.

"Vessels Database." Marine Traffic, https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/data/?asset_type=vessels&columns=flag,shipname,photo,recognized_next_port,reported_eta,reported_destination,current_port,imo,ship_type,show_on_live_map,time_of_latest_position,lat_of_latest_position,lon_of_latest_position,notes&recognized_next_port_in|begins|LONG%20BEACH%20ANCH|recognized_next_port_in=22121&recognized_next_port_in|begins|LONG%20BEACH|recognized_next_port_in=2727&quicksearch|begins|quicksearch=morning%20star. Accessed 10 Nov. 2021.

Nur Nasreen Ibrahim is a reporter with experience working in television, international news coverage, fact checking, and creative writing.

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