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Missiles And Explosives Found On Cargo Ship

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Cargo traffic at the Port of Los Angeles was disrupted recently when longshoremen discovered a shipping container with the word "bomb" painted on the outside of the intermodal container.

Fortunately nothing hazardous was found and normal operations resumed at the port. But in the Finnish port of Kotka, authorities recently impounded 160 tons of explosives and 69 surface-to-air missiles (SAM) that were found on the cargo ship M/S Thor Liberty.

Finnish Customs and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) are investigating a case of suspected illegal transit shipping of weaponry on a ship registered in the Isle of Man, apparently bound for and ultimately destined for Shanghai, China. The British-flagged cargo ship had sailed from the north German port of Emden, and had docked in Kotka, southern Finland, to pick up additional cargo when dock-workers found the explosive nitroguanidine, badly stored on open pallets instead of being stored inside steel containers, as required by law. So the workers alerted Finnish Customs inspectors who also found the Patriot missiles reportedly armed with propelling charges in containers marked as holding fireworks.

Cargo documents for both the explosive and the missiles had been seized, and according to reports the document’s found in the missile containers were signed by a South Korean lieutenant colonel. If the documents prove to be genuine, according to Detective superintendent Timo Virtanen of the NBI, the shipment would seem to involve ordinary arms trading, and that getting the proper transit authorization had simply been neglected. So as a result once the explosives are stored in proper containers, they can continue the journey to China, but what will ultimately be done with the missiles remains undetermined. According to a spokesman for Germany’s Defense Ministry the American-made Patriot missiles were part of Bundeswehr’s stocks and were an official shipment to South Korea that was fully declared and had all necessary clearings from German authorities.

Be aware that Patriot surface-to-air missiles have been in service in several countries, including Egypt, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and South Korea. The 19-foot long, 1,500-pound missiles are a part of the U.S. Army's weaponry, used to counter threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. Consider the potential negative aspects of the widespread dissemination of this “high tech” military technology leading to the hypothetical possibility that these deadly-weapon will someday fall into the wrong hands.

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Guest Sunday, 09 August 2020