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Patriot missiles found on China bound ship

Your odd and disturbing national security story of the day:

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.

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.

69 Patriot missiles is not some minor load.  That’s a bunch of missiles.  Were they hijacked?

They belong to somebody.   Of course, remember we provide Patriot missiles to our “allies” too. 

How in the world do 69 Patriot missiles go missing and end up on a ship bound for China (why spend the money to develop technology when you can steal it and reverse engineer it)?



Twitter: @McQandO

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26 Responses to Patriot missiles found on China bound ship

  • PAC2? PAC3? Old PATROIT 1s?

  • At a former place of employment we were expecting the delivery of some used batteries for our product but instead received a large heavy box destined for the USS Enterprise. From the description on the box it was some part of a guidance system, probably being returned after repair. So things do go astray unexpectedly even with Fedex 😉

    But 69 Patriots is a lot. If the Chinese wanted to do reverse engineering you’d think it’d be easier to arrange theft of 1 or 2 missiles… not an entire shipload. I’m also pretty sure they’ve long ripped-off the individual goodies inside, like the gyros and other restricted export electronics.

    • @DocD “If the Chinese wanted to do reverse engineering” … but you see, we’ve been told that these missiles are unreliable .. generated a “false sense of security” … so why would the peace loving peoples of the People’s Republic of China have any interest in them ?

      • @Neo_ @DocD To give their people a renewed false sense of security.

        Who knows, maybe when State was done negotiating with our new friends the Taliban, they agreed to sell the Chinese some of our missiles to protect them from their old friends in North Korea.

        Do I sound a little pissed? no no no.

  • You boys don’t understand, those were sold by Patriot Missile dealers under the auspices of the ATF and the Justice Department. They were going to let the missiles walk to China to see if they’d be sold to Chinese Drug Lords (some people claim that they’re part of an attempt by the administration to justify tighter regulation on Patriot Missile sales to American citizens by showing that they end up in the wrong hands, but that’s just right winger fantasy).

    • @looker Let me guess, the program was called “MIM-104 or fight”

      • @Neo_ No, it was called – Operation Rocket Ride – and George Bush engineered it first by selling weapons to our old allies like England. It was renamed Chinese New Year by the current administration, and, well, they MIGHT have lost track of the missiles once the left the US, maybe. They’ll appoint an AIG to look in to it.

  • I used to work with a guy (now dead) in USAF logistics. He told me of a story of a railroad car of “blue little containers with nuclear symbols on them” being delivered to an airbase in New Jersey with nothing other than a simple padlock for security during the trip. The shipment was part of an entire trainload which had no manifest, so they had to inventory the train on arrival. Upon finding the “blue containers,” they posted MPs around the train till they could be secured.

  • Another possibility – maybe China is buying them at a discount using the $17.8 million we sent them for foreign aid

    all just a big mix up – I mean, it’s only 69 missiles, shoot, why are we getting so alarmed?
    Besides, it’s not going to be mentioned by CBS/ABC/NBC/MSNBC or CNN, so, really, it didn’t happen.

    Lighten up, Obama and DHS are making us safer every day.

  • Ah – I was wrong CNN says it’s all legal – they’re bound for South Korea, via Shanghai, we’re not supposed to ask I imagine.

    No need to worry.

    • Now, as to why on a legal shipment they’d be marked ‘fireworks’ – see “Operation Chinese New Year” below.

  • Info from South Korea – they’re buying second hand gear from the Germans. So this may be part of that deal.

    Yeah yeah, I know my usual snark always gets in the way. Call it my overwhelming faith in government, particularly THIS one.

  • An even bigger and better “Fast and Furious” program?

  • The new N. Korean leader about to flex his muscles?

    I don’t know why you’d route such tech through China, unless letting them look was part of the deal to avoid ruffling feathers with China. Of course the tech knowledge and how to defeat it will go right from China to Israel’s enemies.

    • @jpm100 Bear in mind, that sort of deal – purchase, gathering 69 missiles on the dock, mislabeling them :), load (poorly) to be shipped via freighter all had to happen before Kim lost his way between the dark and the dawn 3 days ago. So this has been in the works a while.

      Given it’s our tech, even old and sold by allies to other allies, we SURELY had to have known about it. That’s not the sort of thing even our close allies would skip telling State and the big pentagon shaped building on the Potomac. It’s not like Patriot batteries in South Korea even run by South Korea aren’t going to provide an umbrella American citizens and forces can shelter under in the event of a missile sling by the Nutjob of the North.


      So IF our government DIDN’T know about this until the highly trained DHS agents of the Finnish Longershoreman’s union noticed it during the loading process….

      Sorry, they can claim this is all the legit they like, this only smells okay if you don’t bother to think it through. It smells, whether it’s bad, or another demonstration of amateur hour from the administration.
      The only people they continue to fool with antics like this are American Taxpayers.

      • @jpm100 Having said all that, I expect the administration will take the official position that the Germans can sell all the 3 wheeled American bicycles to the South Koreans that they like, and it’s really none of our business what they do with them once they’ve bought them from us. Assuming the press realizes the Administration OUGHT to have a position on this at all.
        Instead we’ll pretend we’re talking about a shipment of, rice, not worthy of explanation.

        Cause, ya know, neither of those countries has national defense plans that coincide with ours and neither country would bother to keep us appraised of something as common place as the current location of 69 Patriot anti-missile missiles (well, hell, they didn’t tell the Finns, why would they tell us).

      • @looker @jpm100

        I’m not so sure old tech is entirely old. There are updates to communication and control protocols and encryption protocols. We just lost a drone to Iran who learned how to jam it. I’m sure Patriots need ground communication to help zero in on target so jamming one could increase chances for a miss. Brute force jamming is not as practical as sending noise to garble communication. But you need to know the communication frequencies and formats more precisely.

        • @jpm100 Alleged German sources say the sale was legit and destined for SoKo but the Finns have grabbed the missiles anyway because there wasn’t a permit for them to carry that stuff in Finnish waters. The freightline owner was unaware of any such freight on his fleet. Some German claimed maybe it got loaded on the wrong ship. The ship is crewed by Ukrainians and the Finns took the Captain and 1st mate into custody. The ships destination was China and no mention from the Finns that SoKo was listed on whatever papers such ships normally carry to show authority figures. A Taiwan paper noted that the Chinese haven’t been just real happy with the sale of Patriots to Taiwan and suggested it would be just swell for the Chinese if they had a bunch to test against to see how they could be spoofed.

          And then there’s the ‘fireworks’ label.

          All in all, no matter how it plays out, legit or not, the Three Stooges must have been involved, either that or Chief Inspector Clouseau.

  • Maybe they were sent to them by Loral at the behest of Bubba Klintoon?

  • Just spitballin’ here, but how do we know these missiles were destined for government possession? I imagine that with enough payoff, anyone could anything through Shanghai, even revolutionaries/rebels/rogues of some flavor or another. Perhaps the ordnance was intended for Chinese upstarts looking to overthrow the old guard?

  • Ships often stop at many ports of call along their journey, but I would want something that didn’t stop in Bandar-Abbas, Rangoon, Hanoi, and Shanghai if I was shipping weapons to South Korea. Maybe the idea was to save on freight, but label them so stupidly the Chinese would never suspect anything?

    Hell, these are expensive missiles, not jeans, why not air freight them?

  • Patriots ain’t shoulder fired. Were the launch vehicles, radars, etc. that would make up a battery included? If not, they weren’t going to be launched at say a commercial airliner by jihadis.