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Missiles listed as "fireworks" on ship manifest

According to Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen, the cargo manifest of the M/S Thor Liberty on which 69 Patriot ground-to-air missiles were found listed the weapons as "fireworks". On Friday, officials announced the missiles were listed on the manifest as "rockets", which Kotka port officials had misinterpreted as meaning "fireworks".

Laiva satamalaiturissa.
Image: YLE Kymenlaakso

Räsänen said that documents associated with the containers holding the missiles carried the name of a South Korean individual.

The vessel which sails under the flag of the Isle of Man, was known to be carrying some 160 tonnes of legal explosives. These, however, were being transported in an unsafe manner.

In addition to the explosives, officials discovered American-made Patriot missiles which were listed on the cargo manifest as fireworks. According to the Minister of the Interior, there has been no transit permit issued for the missiles by the Finnish Defence Forces.

Cargo could have set off chain reaction

She added that there is no indication that the cargo posed a danger to the port or the local population. However, if the cargo of anchor chain that the ship came to Finland to pick up had been loaded, a seriously dangerous situation could have arisen.

According to Räsänen, the cargo vessel will be moved to one of the port's remote docks for reloading during the Christmas period when traffic is low. When permission for the explosives to be taken out of the country is given, the vessel will continue on to China. What will happen to the Patriot missiles is still undecided.

The missiles have been transferred to a safe storage facility by the Finnish Defence Forces.

The Interior Minister said that German police have been contacted in connection with the investigation.

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