Old video resurfaces in posts claiming ferry to Malaysian holiday island caught fire in June 2022

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Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A video of a burning ferry has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times after it was shared in social media posts claiming it shows a fire on a ship heading to the Malaysian holiday island of Langkawi in June 2022. However, the video was shared in a misleading context. The footage circulated in reports of a fire involving a Langkawi ferry in 2019.

The 22-second video was posted here on TikTok on June 16, 2022, where it has been viewed over 870,000 times.

His Malaysian-language caption translates to, “Hope everyone safe Aminn.”

The video appears to show a burning ferry from which large clouds of smoke are billowing. A man is heard shouting in Malay, “How can they jump like that?”

Malaysian-language text overlaid on the video reads: “Ferry from Perlis to Langkawi caught fire, everyone knows something, leave info in the comments section.”

Screenshot of misleading TikTok post taken June 20, 2022

Perlis is a state located on the northwest coast of the Malay Peninsula, while Langkawi is an island and a popular tourist destination 30 km off Perlis.

The video also circulated with a similar claim on Facebook here and here, on TikTok here and on YouTube here.

Some social media users seem to believe the incident happened recently, with one commenting in Chinese, “Praying, everything is fine,” while another wrote in Malay, “God is great.. . I hope everyone is safe”.

Below is a screenshot of comments from Facebook users:

Comments from social media users, taken June 26, 2022

However, the video was shared in a misleading context.

A keyword search found the clip to be the first 13 seconds of this video tweeted by Malaysian news agency Bernama on February 25, 2019.

“A ferry heading to Kuala Perlis caught fire in Langkawi waters, around 3 p.m. earlier,” the Malaysian-language caption read. All passengers were successfully rescued, Bernama said.

The post office credits video to firefighters.

Kuala Perlis is a port city of Perlis.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading message (L) and the genuine video from 2019 (R):

Comparison of screenshots of the video in the misleading message (L) and the authentic video of 2019 (R)

On February 25, 2019, Langkawi Fire and Rescue Station and the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency – also known as the Malaysian Coast Guard – separately uploaded photos of the fire to Facebook, which match the scene in the pictures.

On the same day, Malaysian broadcaster Astro Awani posted its report on the fire on YouTube here, titled: “Langkawi-Kuala Perlis Passenger Ferry Catches Fire”.

The description of the video says the ferry, “believed to belong to Dragon Star Shipping Company”, caught fire five minutes after departing Kuah Pier in Langkawi.

Malaysia’s marine ministry said it suspended the ferry operator in March 2019 and barred it from operating services between Langkawi, Kuala Perlis and Kuala Kedah, another port city in northwest Malaysia.

The Malaysian Coast Guard also posted a statement on Facebook on June 16, 2022, saying the video was from an incident in 2019 and the ferry service operator involved was no longer in business.

AFP found no official reports of a Langkawi ferry catching fire in June 2022.

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