An old video of a pod of whales swimming alongside of what appears to be a vessel has resurfaced with claims that it is from the Mumbai High Field (Bombay High) an offshore oilfield located 176 km off the coast of Mumbai.
The breathtaking video captures at least five humpback whales, a few among them spouting water, as people onboard the vessel remain awestruck. The video is being erroneously identified as shot in the oilfield (managed by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation) in the backdrop of the lockdown that was announced on March 24, to prevent the transmission of the novel Coronavirus.
Following the lockdown and the ensuing restricted movement in the country, multiple unrelated photos and videos of animals have surfaced with narratives that the wildlife is reclaiming their habitats.
The video is viral on both Facebook and Twitter with the caption, "Whales spotted at Bombay high oil rig!!!'' One such Facebook post is archived here.
Many have questioned the authenticity of the video on Twitter as well. View an archive of the tweet here.
Said to be a sighting from the Bombay High offshore oil field, would be grateful if someone could authenticate. Even if not, it's a lovely sight!!!! pic.twitter.com/HpU4jPPJc0— Nistula Hebbar (@nistula) April 4, 2020
The clip has also been shared on YouTube with the caption, "Animals coming out while humans are locked down - Whales spotted at Bombay High Oil Rig Part 4"
Furthermore, an article by India TV's web desk erroneously identified the location as Bombay High as well. The article is headlined as, "Whale-Like creature spotted in Bombay High Waters." The article however states that the ONGC has clarified that it is not the oilfield. Click here to see the archived report.
BOOM reverse searched the frames of the clip and found a longer video of the same footage on YouTube that was uploaded on August, 2019.
According to the caption, the video is from Nusa Penida, an island located in the southeast region of Indonesia's Bali.
Upon further keyword searches, we found another video that was tweeted by BBC Indonesia on August 29, 2019.
The caption, when translated to English, reads, "Video, A group of humpback whales are seen crossing the Karimunjawa sea, even though Indonesian waters are not part of their annual migration path."
[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
We further compared the frames from both the video uploaded by BBC News Indonesia and the viral clip.
An excerpt from the BBC feature, when translated to English, reads, "A bunch of humpback whales, caught on camera crossing the Sea of Karimunjawa. The humpback whale commonly migrates from the Seltan hemisphere to the north for breeding. However, Indonesian waters are not part of the humpback whale migration path, which is more commonly found in Australian waters. It is also their annual migration path. Humpback whales generally migrate up to 10,000 km every year from cold waters in Antarctica into warmer waters in Asutralia."
Furthermore, in an official statement to Hindustan Times, ONGC spokesperson clarified, "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."
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