Finnish dock workers have discovered 69 Patriot surface-to-air missiles and around 160 tonnes of explosives aboard a British-flagged ship bound for Shanghai. It is unknown where the missiles themselves were to be unloaded: legitimate customers in the region include South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, but the cargo’s improper packing and labelling may point to a different destination. The vessel’s operators, on the other hand, suggested that the weaponry may have been loaded by mistake. From the BBC:
The MS Thor Liberty left port in Emden, northern Germany, on 13 December and docked two days later in Kotka, southern Finland, to pick up a cargo of anchor chains, said Finnish Customs spokesman Petri Lounatmaa ….
Routine checks by Finland’s traffic safety authority revealed a load of up to 160 tonnes of improperly packed nitroguanidine, a low-sensitivity explosive with a high detonation speed ….
Interior Minister Rasanen said she had not heard of a similar case.
“Of course, there are legal transports of weapons or defence material [through Finland] but in this case the cargo was marked as containing fireworks,” she told Finnish media. “That is quite unusual.”