Truth or Fake

What’s the story behind this video of a fire at sea?

Videos of this massive fire made the rounds on social media, with some users saying it was an undersea volcano erupting in Cameroon or DR Congo.
Videos of this massive fire made the rounds on social media, with some users saying it was an undersea volcano erupting in Cameroon or DR Congo. © Observers

A video circulating on social media at the end of May 2021 shows a massive fire burning in the sea a few metres offshore. Internet users said it was an undersea eruption in Cameroon or the Democratic Republic of Congo. Others said it was an explosion in an underwater oil pipeline. We traced this video back to the source, and spoke to Jesse Attah, who analysed it on Twitter. 

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In this episode of Truth or Fake, Jesse Attah, a security analyst in Nigeria, told FRANCE 24 Observers’ Derek Thomson how he discovered where this fire occurred – and what might have caused it.  

Although many people online said the video was taken in Mouanko, Cameroon, a local government spokesperson denied claims that an undersea volcano had erupted in Mouanko.  

In Nigeria, there has been no official statement confirming or denying either volcanic activity or a pipeline explosion. 

FRANCE 24 Observers' Derek Thomson tells us more about the probable source of these floating flames.

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