Authorities investigated a “dirty bomb” report made by a YouTube conspiracy theorist and evacuated the Wando Welch terminal in the port of Charleston, South Carolina.
However, they found nothing by 3:30 a.m. June 15 and now say they’ve detained the “original reporting source of the threat.” The Coast Guard later clarified:
As tensions remain high over a mass shooting at a congressional baseball game, authorities responded quickly to the report of a possible “dirty bomb” in Charleston harbor, despite its YouTube origins from conspiracy theorists who are also trafficking in spreading bizarre and unfounded theories about Rep. Steve Scalise’s shooting. According to ABC 4, “local, state and federal authorities are all on scene investigating the threat, and employees have been evacuated.” They were told there was a bomb threat. The focal point of the threat: a ship called the Maersk Memphis, which had recently traveled from Oman to Charleston.
Initially, the Coast Guard wrote this:
By morning, the Coast Guard said this:
Authorities said “a YouTube ‘conspiracy theorist’ made a claim about a threat aboard the Maersk Memphis ship in the port, and authorities are investigating out of an abundance of caution,” ABC 4 reported. In other words, after all of the tragedies in the news, they are taking no chances. The YouTube conspiracy theorist was not named by the television station.
Jason Goodman and George Webb posted YouTube videos talking about the threat to the port, and the purported threat spread among conspiracy theory circles on the internet for several hours before authorities acted. Webb says in one of the videos that he just got off the phone with the Coast Guard and “they were hesitant to call out all the dogs and radiation meters without knowing who are sources are.” He said the sources “exist within the Midwest,” but he couldn’t be more specific because the sources “fear reprisal” from “Andy McCabe” and company. He called them “American patriots…saving our country from terror attacks.” McCabe became the acting director of the FBI after the firing of James Comey.
The Maersk Memphis “is the boat…dirty bomb…that’s where it would happen,” Webb says. “These folks are tired of the (Robert) Mueller, (James) Comey, (Andrew) McCabe reprisal against people trying to do the right thing.” (You can read more about the Maersk Memphis ship here.)
Conspiracy theorists are also spreading the fact the ship docked in Port Qasim, in Karachi, Pakistan, in May. The vessel was last in a port in Oman. In recent months, it also stopped in Dubai, India, the Suez Canal, Houston, Savannah, Norfolk, and Republic of Djibouti.
The Maersk shipping line was founded in Denmark by Arnold Peter Moeller and built by his son, Maersk Mc-Kinney Moeller, who died in 2012.
The first video is called, “Maersk Memphis Update: US Coast Guard / DHS Sweep for Radioactive Material.”
The other video is 2 hours filled with multiple bizarre conspiracy theories and tangents.
Goodman tweets at a site called Crowd Source the Truth. On the Internet, he plies conspiracy theories. The most recent on Facebook, “There is a SPY RING that has infiltrated the information technology department of congress. They have blackmailed members with their own data…”
The Facebook page shared a post with this status: “Was Scalise shot for pushing back against human trafficking?” Goodman responded, “I certainly believe he was…” On 4Chan, a thread was created to warn about a “nuclear event” on the East Coast.
However, the FBI and Coast Guard acted all the same.
The well-known terminal is located at the Port of Charleston. Fox Carolina reported that the FBI is involved and investigating a report of a dirty bomb on a ship.
The Coast Guard released a statement. It said that, at approximately 8 p.m. Wednesday June 14, “authorities were made aware of a potential threat in a container aboard the vessel Maersk Memphis in the Port of Charleston. The Maersk Memphis is currently moored at Charleston’s Wando terminal which has been evacuated while law enforcement units from federal, state and local law enforcement agencies investigate the threat. An unified command has been established to oversee the coordinated response.”
According to Live5News, “Officials with the Coast Guard say the FBI is investigating a report of a dirty bomb on a ship at the Wando Terminal Wednesday night” June 14.
Hazmat and EMS crews were at the scene.
Here’s a view of the terminal on normal days:
Here’s a photo of a French ship that was recently at the terminal.
The incident comes after five people were injured at the congressional baseball game that left U.S. Rep. Steve Scalise and lobbyist Matt Mika in critical condition. An Illinois man, James T. Hodgkinson, was the gunman who was shot and killed by Capitol police officers at the scene.
Although there is no evidence the Charleston threat is related in any way, the Virginia shooting does have people and authorities on edge.
This post will be updated as more information is learned.