- On Feb. 9, 2021, a post on a public Facebook group page claimed that a Japanese Soryu-class diesel-electric submarine collided with a Hong Kong-registered commercial ship and “fell apart” after the collision.
- On Feb. 8, 2021, a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Soryu-class diesel-electric submarine collided with Hong Kong-registered commercial bulk carrier Ocean Artemis at 10:58 a.m. local time. The accident took place off the southern Japanese coast of Cape Ashizori in Kochi prefecture. There was no damage reported to the Ocean Artemis. According to Japan’s Ministry of Defense, the submarine sustained minor damage to its conning tower and antenna mast array, but its navigation capability was not affected and there was no structural damage to the main hull.
- The Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) is still investigating the collision. The cause and the process of the accident has not been determined yet.
- Therefore, the claim is rated FALSE.
On Feb. 9, a post on the public Facebook group page “The Sounds of Silence HK” states, “the so-called ‘top-notch submarine in Asia’ from Japan, named Soryu, collides with a Hong Kong commercial ship and falls apart.” The post highlights, “Finally, we know what it means to be ‘brittle.’”
According to the Facebook group’s ‘about’ information, it has more than 26,000 members. The group’s introduction states, “A righteous voice in an unjust world. Please join us to voice your opinions and speak out for the minorities.”
At the issuance of this report, the post had received 253 likes or “mood responses,” 70 comments and 22 shares.
The claim questions: Did a Soryu-class Japanese submarine collide with a Hong Kong-registered commercial ship and fall apart?
Katsunobu Kato, the chief cabinet secretary of Japan, announced during a news conference held at 10:58 a.m. local time on Feb. 8 that a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Soryu-class submarine collided with a commercial vessel off Japan’s Cape Ashizuri in Kochi prefecture. No crew members aboard the commercial vessel were injured in the accident. Three crew members of the Japanese submarine suffered minor injuries, but they did not require medical attention.
Although the national registration of the commercial vessel was not disclosed during the news conference, NHK public television reported it was the Hong Kong-registered bulk carrier Ocean Artemis, according to officials from the Japan Coast Guard (JCG). Reports claimed the ship was carrying 90,000 tons of iron ore and had 21 Chinese crew members on board. Information on Chinaports.com claims the commercial ship is named 鴻通號 in Chinese and is registered in Hong Kong. Later in the day on Feb. 8, Chinese state media also reported the accident. A report from Xinhua News Agency, quoting news from Japanese media, claimed the Japanese Soryu-class submarine, which had just finished a regular maintenance, scraped the bottom of the Hong Kong vessel and sustained damage to the top of the submarine. However, the navigation capability of the submarine was not affected. The commercial vessel was identified also as a Hong Kong-registered bulk carrier.
The trajectory of the Ocean Artemis also can be traced on Chinaports.com. On Feb. 5 the ship departed Dongjiakou Port in Qingdao, Shandong Province, China, and sailed to Tachibana Port in Okayama, Japan. The ship sailed through the Osumi Strait, south of Kagoshima, and collided with the Japanese submarine off the shore of Kochi prefecture at about 11:00 a.m.
Kato also said during the news conference that the hull of the commercial ship was not damaged. The Japanese Ministry of Defense said that Japanese submarine’s antenna mast was damaged, including parts of the periscope and the communication antenna. The information aligns with the report from Xinhua News Agency that describes the damage as on “the top parts of the submarine.”
The Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) has launched an investigation into the accident. At the issuance of this report, the investigation is still underway. The cause of the accident has not been concluded, according to the official website of JTSB. Therefore, based on the information available so far, it cannot be confirmed that the Soryu-class submarine unilaterally caused the accident.
The Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force Soryu-class submarine did collide with Hong Kong-registered bulk carrier Ocean Artemis off Japan’s Cape Ashizori in Kochi prefecture at 10:58 a.m. local time on Feb. 8, 2021 (9:58 a.m. Beijing time). The official investigation conducted by JTSB is still underway, and it cannot be concluded that the Japanese submarine unilaterally caused the accident.
During the collision, the submarine sustained damage to parts of the periscope and the communication antenna, but it did not affect its navigation capability. Thus, the alleged structural damage of the submarine, as mentioned in the Facebook group page post, did not occur during the accident.
We rate the claim FALSE.
- Post on the Facebook group page “the Sounds of Silence HK”
- Facebook group “the Sounds of Silence HK”
- Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato, speaking at a news conference on Feb. 8
- NHK report
- Ship trajectory information on Chinaports.com
- Xinhua News Agency: “A submarine of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force collided with a commercial ship from Hong Kong, China, and three crew members suffered minor injuries”
- Japan Transport Safety Board: “Submarine Soryu Collision”