Note: no doubt from a AZ gun show. "loaded on by mistake" Always
interesting on how international arms market works. Good thing
Mex. cartels don't know about it.
21 December 2011 Last updated at 16:47 ET
Finland 'finds Patriot missiles' on China-bound ship
The Thor Liberty docked in Kotka, Finland, 21 December The Thor
Liberty is docked in Kotka
The Finnish authorities have impounded an Isle of Man-flagged ship
bound for China with undeclared missiles and explosives, officials say.
Police are questioning the crew of the MS Thor Liberty after what
were described as 69 Patriot anti-missile missiles were found aboard.
Interior Minister Paivi Rasanen said the missiles were marked
The MS Thor Liberty had docked in the Finnish port of Kotka after
leaving Germany last week.
Dock workers became suspicious after finding explosives poorly stored
on open pallets, and the missiles were then found in containers
The managing director of the ship's owner, Thorco Shipping, expressed
surprise. Thomas Mikkelsen told AFP news agency from Denmark that he
was unaware of the matter.
Another company official, speaking on condition of anonymity,
confirmed the ship had been detained in Finland and said the missiles
could have been loaded on to the vessel by mistake, AFP adds.
Police did not confirm Finnish media reports that the ship had also
been scheduled to stop in South Korea, Reuters news agency reports.
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
It was bound for the Chinese port of Shanghai but there was no
indication for whom the military cargo was destined.
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.
"Actually in our investigation at the moment, we have got the
information that we found 69 Patriot missiles on the ship and around
160 tonnes of explosives," said Detective Superintendent Timo
Virtanen from the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation.
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."
Mr Lounatmaa said customs officials and police had launched a joint
investigation into a possible breach of Finnish export and weapons
He said that the crew of about 32 were being questioned.
Patriot missiles, designed by the US company Raytheon, are supplied
to "US and allied forces", according to the company's website. South
Korea is among states which deploy them.