A video of three humpback whales swimming underwater is going viral on social media. The video posted on Twitter claims that the whales are swimming somewhere near the high shore oilfields of Mumbai.
NewsMeter did a fact check on the 30 seconds video.
“Surprise, surprise! Keep watching this video shared by a friend sourced from someone who works at Bombay High, some 161 km from the Mumbai coast. Btw…listen carefully…did someone just say ‘dinosaur’ ,” says the netizen who first tweeted the video.
Bombay High (Mumbai High), is an offshore oilfield located in the Arabian Sea which is approximately 160 km west of the Mumbai coast. In 1976 Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) started their production in the region. It consists of two blocks, Bombay High North and Bombay High South.
Another Twitter user claimed that he received the video in their “ONGC WhatsApp group” and that the authenticity of the clip is “confirmed.”
Yes, got it in my ONGC whatsapp group. Confirmed
— Mahabira (@bidyavana) April 4, 2020
However, ONGC under whose premises the Bombay High is located, denied the claim that the video was shot in the region.
Responding to the video, an official spokesperson from ONGC said, “It’s heartening to see marine life thriving. However, mobiles are not allowed in ONGC offshore installations. Therefore, this video has not been shot at/ near any ONGC offshore installation.”
A few Twitter users also pointed out that employees working at ONGC offshore installations are not allowed to carry mobile phones to the site.
Parveen Kaswan, an IFS officer who also shared the video said that whales are natural to the region. However, he says there is a possibility for the video to be fake since ONGC has denied its authenticity.
“Humpback whales are natural in Arabian Sea. They are migratory, but few remain for a full year between Oman & India. The Government runs a programme to save whales in Gujarat. Moreover, Bombay High is not on the coast, it is 170 kms inside the ocean,” he said.
He further added, “The video is fake in the sense that ONGC has come up with a statement that is not from Bombay High. Also we don’t know the location where it was shot. Also we don’t know when it was shot. All we know is they are whales. And whales are natural to that place.”
A fake video of whale surfaced & everybody is crazy. A whale !!
Humpback whales are natural in Arabian Sea. They are migratory, but few remain for full year between Oman & India. Govt runs a programme to save whales. Bombay High is not on coast, it is 170 kms inside ocean.
— Parveen Kaswan, IFS (@ParveenKaswan) April 5, 2020
When keyframes from the video were extracted and searched with Google and Yandex reverse image search, NewsMeter found a similar video published by Zakaria Putra 3 with a title TEREKAM KAMERA PENAMPAKAN IKAN PAUS DI LAUT LEPAS on 9 Sep 2019.
We also found a video by BBC which is taken from a different angle. The video was uploaded on Twitter by BBC News Indonesia.in its official handle on 29 August 2019.
“A group of humpback whales are seen crossing the Karimunjawa sea, even though Indonesian waters are not part of their annual migration path,” BBC wrote posting the video.
[Video] Sekelompok paus bungkuk terlihat melintasi laut Karimunjawa, padahal perairan Indonesia bukan termasuk jalur migrasi tahunan mereka. pic.twitter.com/k3ikjF8D2y
— BBC News Indonesia (@BBCIndonesia) August 29, 2019
The video is genuine. However the claim that it’s from Bombay High, shot during the nationwide lockdown due to Coronavirus is False.