Germany: Impounded Patriot Missiles Were Legitimate Shipment

Posted December 22nd, 2011 at 3:30 pm (UTC-5)
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German officials say a shipment of 69 Patriot surface-to-air missiles confiscated by officials in Finland was a legitimate delivery from Germany to South Korea, but Finnish authorities say they were headed for China.

Finnish authorities discovered and impounded the missiles Wednesday during a search of the cargo ship Thor Liberty in the Finnish port of Kotka. At least 150 tons of explosives were also discovered aboard the vessel, which sailed north from the German port of Emden.

Following the discovery, the anti-crime unit of Finland's customs office arrested the ship's Ukrainian captain and chief officer.

A German Defense Ministry spokesman says the shipment was headed for South Korea and had the proper declaration documents and all necessary clearances from German authorities. But Finnish officials say the ship's destination was Shanghai, China, and that authorities are investigating the case.