British-registered ship caught taking arms to China
Vessel impounded after 160 tonnes of explosives and 69 missiles were discovered on board
A British-flagged cargo ship has been impounded by Finnish authorities after 160 tonnes of explosives and 69 surface-to-air missiles were found on board.
The Thor Liberty was on its way to Shanghai, China, after setting sail from the German port of Emden on 13 December. The British-registered ship, owned by a Danish firm, Thorco, docked two days later in Kotka, Finland, to pick up a cargo of anchor chains.
The missiles, produced by the US firm Raytheon, were discovered after a search of the vessel by customs officials. Petri Lounatmaa, a Finnish customs spokesman, said investigators did not yet know the origin of the Patriot missiles or who was supposed to receive them.
"We have impounded the explosives and missiles and asked the Defence Ministry to transport and store them," Mr 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." Mr Lounatmaa said customs officials and police have launched a joint investigation into a possible breach of Finnish export and weapons-trading laws. "We have started questioning the crew," Mr Lounatmaa said. "As the investigation continues decisions will be made about possible arrests."
Mr Lounatmaa said that there were about 32 crew members on board the vessel and that questioning them could continue well into Friday. Detective Superintendent Timo Virtanen, of the National Bureau of Investigation, said dock workers found the explosives – picric acid – stored on open pallets instead of in closed containers. They alerted inspectors, who found the missiles in containers with markings that indicated they were holding fireworks.
The Finnish Interior Minister Paivi 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 Finland's YLE TV.
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call someone fat on TV'
Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
Ian Watkins: Police probed over earlier allegations as paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences
DNA from a 50,000 year old toe shows Neanderthals were highly inbred
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
Ethan Couch: Texas quadruple murderer – or a victim of ‘affluenza’?
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£39000 - £425000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Newly Qualified ...
£30000 - £38001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A highly respecta...
£45 - £55 per day: Randstad Education Newcastle: Level 3 Teaching Assistant in...
£21500 - £40000 per day: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education is th...