Ok Guys, Who Sent Patriot Missiles to China? (Updated)

So, Finnish Authorities yesterday found 69 Patriot air-defense missiles and another 160 tons of explosives on a ship bound for China. What!?

The British-flagged merchant ship Thor Liberty apparently left Emden, Germany with the missiles and stopped in Finland to pick up anchor chains when Finnish customs inspectors found the weapons — in crates marked as fireworks — during a routine sweep of the ship.

No one seems to know how 69 of the U.S.’ prized air defense missiles ended up on a ship bound for China  but this kind of movement can only happen with the approval of someone in high places.

Keep in mind that Germany has a bunch of Patriot missiles and has sold its older Patriots to South Korea during times of high tension with North Korea. Finnish authorities couldn’t say if the ship was planning on making any stops before it arrived in China. It’s plausible the missiles found aboard the Thor Liberty are a German shipment bound for South Korea but you’d think we’d have heard about the deal; you’d also think they wouldn’t be “badly stored” and marked as fireworks.

Update: Germany is now saying that the missiles are part of a legit arms transfer to South Korea. No word on why it was done in such a shady manner.

Here’s the AP quoting a Finnish customs official:

“We have impounded the explosives and missiles and asked the Defense Ministry to transport and store them,” Lounatmaa said. “At this stage we don’t know where it (the cargo) was loaded on the ship or if the Thor Liberty planned a drop before its port of destination in China.”

Detective Superintendent Timo Virtanen of the National Bureau of Investigation said dock workers found the explosives — picric acid — badly stored on open pallets instead of in closed containers. They alerted inspectors who found the missiles in containers marked as holding fireworks.

Remember, the numerous versions of the Raytheon-made Patriot missiles are used by the U.S. and its allies to defend ground targets against all manner of aircraft and ballistic missiles.

Finnish officials have confiscated the deadly cargo and are investigating if this a breach of the country’s export laws.

I could kind of understand when that rogue shipment of Russian tanks was discovered in Africa, they were apparently going to help south Sudanese rebels. But this is on a different level. Who in China needs U.S-made air defense missiles besides the PLA (so that it can reverse engineer them)? Maybe this is some sort of counter-espionage project aimed at supplying China with faulty, obsolete versions of the missiles. Who knows. This one will be interesting to follow.

  • dimeck

    Way to go Finnish customs authorities!

  • muki

    duh, url length sucked. Here shorter version of it: http://goo.gl/C0VTa
    Happy Xmas

  • Marcase

    That “other” China, Taiwan, is another Patriot user, but the whole masquerading as fireworks just really, really smells of mainland China…

    It’s not just that Patriots were shipped, but the sheer AMOUNT of missiles; if just one missile got through it would’ve been a feat, but 69 PAC’s equals about 17 launchers, that’s about half a dozen truck loads!

    This does make one wonder about the other shiploads that passed “inspection” and got through the maze…

    • Marcase

      Okay, confirmed: German PAC’s for South Korea…

  • McPosterdoor

    Uh fireworks, really? Is this a joke? I’m sure China has such a hard time manufacturing fireworks locally and must import them constantly from Europe, making this a perfect cover. Was labeling them ‘cheap plastic goods’, ‘poisoned baby formula’ ‘paper lanterns’ or ‘substandard drywall’ too unbelievable? Why not have the LandShark deliver them?… ‘[knock knock] CandyGram… [knock knock] uh… flowers’.

    • tiger

      Landshark, going old school with the jokes today. lol

  • extreme_one

    – The shipment was approved by U
    – Only another state would be able to cough up the $220m(at least)> South Korea
    – The Finnish people are just plain stupid if they think they can hold on to the missiles. And removing them even more so. Somebody fucked up big time here.
    They are also stupid if they believe that anyone would make make the time and date of such transport public by applying for a license.

    You might as well send greeting cards to all the terrorists around the world.
    Remember that MS Estonia(Stockholm to Helsinki) allegedly had weapons on board when it sank.

    • Cosmoskitten

      “Finnish people are just plain stupid if they think they can hold on to the missiles”

      It is an entirely sensible idea to impound the missiles while doing an investigation if any crimes have been committed.

      Regarding your idea that the shipping company should keep military cargo secret from the customs, I think most countries in the world see that as a bad idea.

  • Ugh, one of the most overhyped and misleading news in recent memory. Just shows how easily Finnish media (I’m a Finn) blows up a story without knowing the facts. Frankly I’m surprised that international media jumped on the bandwagon too…



    • kim

      Don’t do drugs before hitting the keyboard. Please.

    • loveliberty

      The patriots were the price of getting China to support the sanctions on Iran………They are the model ONLY supplied to Israel at this point…………..This needs some LOOKING INTO!

  • dddd

    If this was intentional, and the missiles were bound for China, I would bet my house they were intended for testing electronic countermeasures.

    • Dhunt Aus

      I was thinking the same thing

  • Brian Higgins

    “150 metric tons of the explosive material nitroguanidine, according to police.” This civilian concludes that the explosives, and missiles, were intended for military use. More intel about the explosive: “Nitroguanidine is used as an explosive propellant, notably in triple-base smokeless powder. The nitroguanidine reduces the propellant’s flash and flame temperature without sacrificing chamber pressure. These are typically used in large bore guns where barrel erosion and flash are particularly important.” (Wikipedia)

    • Pinkie

      Wow, wikipediaman thanks

  • anonimouse9

    I’m not buying the story that it’ an official shipment from Germany to South Korea.
    If that’s the case, why the shoddy packing, and poor documentation?
    And why rick it on a boat headed to China?
    Sounds REAL fishy, like someone is covering up for a big mistake.

    • Musson1

      I agree whole heartedly! Maybe the cover story was Germany to South Korea – but those ‘fireworks’ were never getting out of China!

  • PolicyWonk

    Big mistake? Or treason?

  • John Moore

    CH calls Germany and says ok say they were your’s heading for SK and we will help you with your financial crisis your going through.

    Sounds plausible.

    • bleh

      > CH calls Germany

      Why do you think Switzerland is involved? Did I miss some development in the Grand Unified Conspiracy Theory?

  • Guest

    Unbefoubling real!!! I’d like to hear what the excuse is rockets for S. Korea marked in fireboxes? oops it was supposed to be Captain Crunch labeled. I’m sure a way to tie it to the Pakistani Border incident may not be far off, since it’s also our fault now (ironically, sarcastically speaking…) how many blunders makes in the past month? 1) Lost UAV over Iran 2) Pakistanis shooting at Americans, but damned if we shoot back and now 3) Giving China actual hardware.. and no Congressional inquires yet? LOL

    • Tom

      Can anyone believe the UAV over Iran landed without a scratch? Now This……….
      The operators of the UAV said, they lost control of the UAV. The was code for some other authority taking control and giving it to IRAN meaning Russia &

  • J Hughes

    Reminds me of Lord Of War. Corrupt Generals and false labeling of weapons.

  • Vejadu

    I’m guessing the shipper chased after the lowest cost transporter and didn’t pay attention to en route stops. The lowest rate rationale explains poor inspection of the cargo and the mislabeling as well.

  • mpower6428

    the scary alternative….?

    china, despite our “intelligence” bugdet, may be running circles around us.

    no, i dont even want to believe it but, seeing as NOBODY here is equiped to reasure me….

    • Infidel4LIFE

      im afraid that could be true. The chicoms are good at playing games. We play chess, while they play Goh..know ur enemy, hell we don’t know much i would say. This stinks and sounds illegal.

  • Matt Holzmann

    seeing that Europe is becoming more dependent upon China to bail them out of the crisis, might this be a case of quid pro quo?

    Did the ship have a manifest? What were the stated destinations? Anchor chain from Finland to China when China has one of the world’s largest shipbuilding industries?

    Storage of high technology weapons systems as well as explosive components for a 12,000 mile voyage would be critical. The Soviets used to buy all sorts of stuff and let it rust as soon as it arrived, but the Chinese are a lot smarter.

    This doesn’t add up very well.

  • Mitch S.

    I’m still waiting for the South Koreans to confirm the missiles were meant for them.

  • ondafritz

    Un registered shipping of 330,693 pounds of an explosive Nitroguanidine that isnt available on the commercial market and only sold to the military is treason in my book

    • Jon A

      Treason against who?

  • Nick

    Its probably legit. Germany has been selling of their stocks and south korean has been buying em up to go along with their upgraded radars. Besides why would china buy more then a couple dozen for testing?

    Still very shoddy shipping. Yuppp lets combine a missile and explosive shipment and give it to the ukrainians.

    • Bones , the cartoon rnidems me of a picture we took during an alarm.I put my glasses on over my mask so that I could read.Be darned if I don’t look like Shuldig.Of course I was younger and better looking then.Today I look like Shuldig even without the mask.

  • American Heretic

    Welll, let’s see. What has Obama done about this stab in the backi? I can still walk into the German car dealership and buy a BMW. The U.S. still has tens of thousands of troops in Germany. Amerca is still the largest contributor to NATO.

    I know. Our president has called Angela Merkel and asked her politely to stop doing this. America needs to stop treating its enemies as friends and its friends as enemies.

    • oppervlakkig

      You are kidding, right?

  • tiger

    I guess inspectors in Finland missed my crate labeled, “Chia Pets. ”

  • update

    now a small update from Finland. Our customs had a small translation error when they inspected the cargo. Orginal cargopapers said “rockets” and someone translated it to “ilotulituksia” that means fireworks in Finnish. So the cargopapers where Ok.

    • blight

      Thanks. It’s always better to have first-hand reporting on the ground: AP/Reuters isn’t exactly known for assigning the right reporters to the right jobs.

      “Rockets” is also a clever way of disgusing anti-air missiles. The Germans probably never had the most advanced patriots, these would be the older PAC-1’s meant as air defense in the event of WW3. You know, the ones that didn’t do so hot in GW1…

      • Blight – Didn’t do too well? As I remember they knocked down every plane they were fired at (though they were later found to be friendly and should have never been fired upon).

        • blight

          We parked them around Tel Aviv to repel Scuds. They were spun as anti-Scud and were total failures at that mission.

          Of course, if you want to feel better you can focus on the fact that they fulfilled their design objectives; and that the generals simply asked too much of them due to shortsightedness in American military procurement.

    • Vejadu

      That’s why you use 4 digit UN numbers to clearly identify the dangerous goods being carried, avoiding translation errors. A novice error here

  • Joshua

    In lieu of recent events, it seems perfectly reaonable. > SK worries about a possible, trigger happy NK during regime change. > They rush order missiles on the down low to keep from threatening the delicate situation. > End result? Rushing the shipment blows the secret.

  • Brian

    How does ANYTHING go from Emden to anywhere in Asia via Kotka? Unless perhaps it’s going via Trans Siberian Rail… That’s 1800km in the wrong direction.

    • anchorsaway

      Kotka was a two-day sail prior to the ship heading for Shanghai

  • Kski

    I think some one took a pay out from the chicoms to just so happed have this suspect ship stop in the PRC, over night of course, to have the “Fireworks” unloaded.

  • Stratege

    Actually, Chinese have significantly better SAM than old Patriot – the SAM S-300 bought from Russia. So why China need Patriots ?

    • Chimp

      Right. As I understand it, HQ-17 is effectively a PMU-2 with upgraded electronics… probably not as good as the very latest patriot setups, but very formidable in any case.

      It’s most likely a dodgy arms sale to South Korea.

    • DHunt Aus

      Hypotheticaly, if they were for china, i’d put my money on counter measures of some sort.
      Defeating air defenses is a pretty sweet advantage, but then again the patriot isnt the only ground to air capability in the west now is it.

    • Enrico

      Maybe they could need them to study countermeasures against Taiwanese and Japanese Patriots.

      • Stratege

        Good point

  • Chimp

    Look up “HQ-17”.

  • DHunt Aus

    Just a thaught, where i live ( Australia) if im sending my rifle to the gun shop i dont write on the box, gun inside, because i dont want idiots looking for a cheap gun to come across my gun and think . ” oh jackpot”. Maybe a similar reason for the storage not saying ” AIR DEFENSE MISSILES AND HIGH EXPLOSIVES FOUND HERE”, because the delivery guys just dont need to know, for secuirty reasons.

    Just a thaught.

    • tangwai

      Probably better not to think next time ;) delivery guys…lol…it is not DHL

  • donald kulinski

    12-23-2011 with all the thinking did someone forget the ram jet with a ionic wind generator at the front (the theory is that the faster you go ,the faster you move more air and fuel into the unit) ,,the ionic wind generator is to force air into the front at the ground level and even in airflight,,,,then there is the fact that an electromagnetic cannon can fire a round just about into ,”OUTER SPACE’,, and the last thought ,the site http://www.jlnlabs.org shows ionic wind foating objects with thrust from ions,,,so where are the ,”backyard scientist”, thinking about shooting a laser light into a tesla coil and turning light into mass,only found one article about ,the process,,and recently ,scientist in norway or sweden seperated light of red and green using gold and silver,,, and dont forget that the color green from the ancient world was set into a tesla strengty mag. in tellah..fla. and a two plane dimension was found, in quantum thinking ,that finding is going to change quantum thinking,,so who is using quantum to power ships,,,,,,now for the holiday of wishful thinking ,,”who gets the lamborghini for christmas???? thanks for your time,,donald

    • Twidget at large


  • flyboy

    Ah from the German Empire – last known to be run by khazarian zionists (roths sign/israel). Let’s see how this works for them, israel loses 17 launchers in an accounting blunder, but it doesn’t matter – they were given to israel and paid for by d.c. (you and me)
    Somehow, prc re-enforces . . . for testing and trial purposes, also know as WAR.
    eufrrprc rolls together and when prc takes Taiwan, commies attempt to crush US to bring the World Order to fruition.
    Thank you Finland!

    • flyboy

      The “Thank you” to Finland was legit – THANK YOU FINLAND

  • flyboy

    Oh, I’m so far off base!!!? Google up how many times Israel has sold US out to the prc . . . thumbs down that? lemmings!

  • Mastro

    People wonder why we didn’t export the F22- our “allies” will sell us out toot sweet.

  • Tim England

    The Germans desperate for the Chinese to help shore up the zero zone currency did a trade plain and simple.

  • Tim England

    Just don’t forget that Obahma gave details last year of the Uk’s nuclear force to uncle Putin for some dirty deal.

  • J Hughes

    Btw isnt one of the many rules for a foreign country buying U.S made weapons, that they cannot not transfer said weapons to a 2nd foreign country without U.S approval???

    • Red

      I’d imagine. After all, Israel wouldn’t be permitted to transfer F-15I Ra’ams to Moscow without consulting Washington, surely.

  • Infidel4LIFE

    I hate those chicoms. Good work Finland!!

  • AMMO461

    Oh that’s a new one…. Fireworks…. That’s great. I want to remind everyone… CHINA IS NOT OUR FRIEND!!! Commies are commies and that will never change… Just like terrorists are terrorists and that will never changer. Don’t let anyone, especially our Government Elected in Washington try to convince you otherwise. I know I am probably speaking to the choir. But it’s worth saying.

    • credit AAA

      It was not labeled “fireworks” but “rockets”. misunderstanding. but 150 metric tons of the explosive material nitroguanidine, partly in broken boxes in the same shipping…

      • bleh

        Nitroguanidine is Highly Flammable (F) and an Irritant (Xi) according to the Dangerous Substances Directive. It’s not considered an explosive because it won’t explode without some serious work (just as most run of the mill stuff will burn but is not marked F).

        About those broken boxes, given the cluster”§$% with the “fireworks” translation, I’d say the Finns are just making **** up to look not quite as incompetent.

  • choir

    music is the language of heaven – sing on.(/p) and, while you’re at it, let Toto pull the curtain to reveal: NATO = CENTRAL Banks = Rot sign = prison planet. Anyone here posting NOT want a free Country for their progeny? either head ’em off at the pass, or this buisness “doesn’t fit your pistol” c’mon? are you talking to me?


    This is a very odd story. For a start the ship is not a British ship, but one flagged under The Isle of Man, it is owned by a Danish company registered in Copenhagen. She is short range coastal freighter which normally works the Baltic region with forestry products or fertilisers. This is probably the basis of the story, Nitroguanidine is very easily converted into commercial farm grade fertiliser. Yours, G/. New South Wales, Australia

  • Elijah

    If it looks like a dog and smells like a dog and fleas are bitting you ashtray, well the fleas come from somewhere.

  • surveyor

    This is the reason you need a US Merchant Marine. When you carry military equipment including M1 Abrams tanks on Russian freighters, you dont think that they are so brain dead as to not take a peek or two at those tanks? This is an old story. The US Navy has long been adverse to the very existance of the US Merchant Marine. We were told long ago that our wartime life expectancy was 2 weeks, so what was the point in our existance? With no US Merchant Marine, the USN could dump the FFs, FFGs, P3s necessary for convoy escort and more money could go into power projection. The US Navy forgot the old rule: no ships= no shipyards – and where are we now? We have no US Merchant Marine and we have next to no shipbuilding base. Way to go US Navy!

  • insider

    Part 1 / 4

    In the meantime, Germany officially admitted that its “Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement” filled out all the obligatory paperwork for this shipment, thereby publicly contradicting the Finnish government. (I presume that the ship captain was also expressively forbidden to show them to any authority, not to create any international scandal on his own)
    However, the German government is still mute about the DESTINATION country of those missiles.

    My three guesses:



    If I didn’t know better.. I would say this is the work of VP Joe Biden or Mr Foot in Mouth.

  • GregG

    Major F’up! Huge!

  • insider

    To the poster “surveyor”

    You wrote: “Excuse me, but exactly WHY would you ship 69 Patriot Missiles under a Commercial Bill of Lading? Has anyone ever heard of Military Sealift Command, which exists for the very purpose of carrying sensitive military cargoes such as Patriot Missiles in a secure manner?”

    Part 1 / 5

    As I indicated above: Irrespectively whether those missiles were sent BY Germany or merely VIA Germany, the Germans would always be faced with the following dilemma before this particular deal: “My friend’s enemy just happens to be another friend of mine, too…”. Meaning: Germany has friendly relations with BOTH Taiwan AND with its arch-enemy China, and doesn’t want to alarm the paranoid, irascible neighbour of yet another friend in that region (South Korea) either.


    • insider

      Part 2 / 5

      So: How should Germany proceed without giving up one (very profitable) friendship – China – or causing unnecessary anxiety to another friend – South Korea? (The U.S.A.’s practical solution: Just sacrifice the poorer friend of the two – Taiwan. But we €s aren’t quite like that)

      YOUR suggestion = a globe-crossing, Western, military merchant vessel, inescapably catches the eye of such war-ready countries like China and North Korea (reconnaissance, spies among harbour workers, etc.), resulting in Germany’s immediate exposure and international embarrassment, most probably in economical retaliations, too.
      Not the perfect macro-economic moment for that.


      • insider

        Part 3 / 5

        So the German Military just decided to travel incognito, marked that missile cargo as “party items” (firecrackers) and blended it into an ocean full of peacefully bobbing, civilian cargo ships…
        Yep, exactly like that “israeli” cargo Jumbo / El Al Flight 1862 did, when it left the U.S.A. on the 4.10.1992 with its belly full of nerve gas components marked as “cassette recorders” (N.P.T. Treaty, anyone?) and crashed in Shiphol, Dutchland, releasing the poison onto the city.

        U.S. American, I can barely imagine how outraged you felt back then.


        • insider

          Part 4 / 5

          I even dare to ask: For every covert, German, military shipment discovered ( = so far, only this one), how many OTHER , highly compromising transports were already successful in the last decades?
          And you’re really convinced that the U.S.A. never even SUSPECTED about a single, polemic German arms sale either? Oh come on, now you’re thinking like a child.

          Don’t you even find the U.S.A.’s official silence about this whole (apparent) scandal absolutely DEAFENING , like a defendant’s famous “right to remain silent” in court?

          I even suspect that we’re only looking at the TIP of an iceberg in worldwide, clandestine, completely immoral deals going on between alleged “enemies” à la Iran-Contra-Gate!!! Our imagination is probably the only limit for that…


          • insider

            Part 5 / 5

            This was merely my MOST PLAUSIBLE explanation for this mysterious, intercepted missile shipment.

            However, I’m always fatally attracted towards the LEAST plausible scenario (it’s genetic).

            What if BOTH the U.S.A. AND Germany sent those missiles DELIBERATELY straight to China, as in: “Hey Commies, here’s a nice gesture from the opulent, decadent West” ? Maybe they have a common, threatening (but economically powerless) enemy, and in this case Realpolitik trumped over ideological differences ( = charades for peasants) and diplomatic appearances, etc.?

            Boys, are those Finnish zealots going to suffer…

    • surveyor

      Back in the day when we had National Flag Merchant Marines, this sort of nonsense was FAR more difficult. The flag on the back of a ship indicated friend or foe and the officers of the ship had sworn an oath to their flag. Today, the flag of a ship means ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. The population of ships that I see on a daily basis run about 40% Chinese, 40% Phillipino, and 20% a mix of South Koreans, Russians, Ukranians, Croatians, Turks. Japanese, Americans, Brits, Norweigans are virtually non existant.

      The point is that short sighted shipowners are perpetually seeking cheaper and cheaper crews. While many nations such as the Phillipines provide crews as a means of employment for their people, China is providing crews for power to control as many ships as possible. For the most part, a shipowner has excellent control over a Phillipino crew, but what they dont realize is that a Chinese Communist crew’s first loyalty is to China- and the shipowner really does not have control of his ship. Orders from Chinas government will supercede orders from the ship owner. The shipowner only has the illusion of control.

  • TheTruthWillSetUFree
  • charlie

    What wold the chinease need with this old junk when they have the israeli’s to buy all the latest American technology from. Israel sold them a brand new fighter jet the American tax payers paid israel to develope so they could build theri own ..supposedly and it ends up in china as a fine new aircraft Our American pilots migh have to come up agains someday…with friends like the israeli’s …

  • Thomas

    Northern Europe has a 500 billion current account surplus yearly, is the largest exporter on the planet, the largest Foreign Direct Investor, etc….Why do they need China who is a poorer country with a per capita income of about $5000, underdeveloped infrastructure, overpopulation, severe pollution problems, severe corruption problems, etc. Now the Typical Chinese Worker makes $3000 yearly and the typical German Worker makes $50,000(US Dollars or $40,000 Euros yearly) and they have social benefits that would cost Americans $50,000 Yearly(Free College, Vocational School, Healthcare, Dental, Sick Days, Sick Leave, etc) so Combining the German Wages with their Benefits amounts to $100,000 Versus $3,000 in China now which country is stronger?

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