Seems strange a secret German transfer of military hardware to China would be outed by the Finns, fellow EU members.
Customs inspections are somewhat relaxed at many ports. Smugglers oftentimes nest illicit containers in the midst of legitimate cargo. If this is the modality, then the least suspicious way to offload would be to do it en-mass rather than moving everything to uncover the illicit containers. If most/all of the legitimate cargo was genuinely destined for China, then logic dictates that China is also where the Patriots would be offloaded. If no one is suspicious about the cargo manifest, there is then no compelling reason to falsify the destination. Doing so would create two exposure points (manifest/destination) rather than a singular exposure point (manifest).
At any rate, if I was a customs inspector, the Fireworks denoted in the manifest as earmarked for China would have drawn my attention. China is a huge manufacturer and exporter of pyrotechnics. It would similar to seeing a manifest with containers of Rice earmarked for China.
Makes a girl go... hmmm.
אשכנזי היהודי • Белый Россию
MIM-104 Patriot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ).
However, some additional facts for, again, our resident Sherlock Holmes':
1. The ship's last port was Germany. This does not mean the so-called Patriots were loaded in Germany. Ships generally do not completely empty out or completely load at at each port they visit -- some cargo may ride for several ports before hitting its destination.
2. The Patriots are "so-called" -- note the terminology of the story: "what were described as 69 Patriot anti-missile missiles". The author (or editor) of the story is leaving some wiggle room as to what the missiles actually are.
3. Referring to #1, the fact that the next port in the ship's rotation was Shanghai also means nothing -- the cargo could have easily been intended for another port. Also, a non-stop trip from Finland to Shanghai would be rather unusual for the typical voyage (one would think that there would be profitable intermediate stops along the way.
4. Missiles alone would be of no use if one did not also have the launchers and guidance control systems (computers/radars), even for reverse engineering (I would wager). The sum total of the system (especially the launchers) is may not be something that would generally fit in your basic shipping container.
It is of course odd that the cargo was mis-manifested (improperly described). The plot thickens here -- the ship's cargo manifest should state where the 'missles/fireworks' were loaded, and what port they are bound for. We are not getting the full story in the linked report (of course, the BBC may not have that information, but I would hope they at least pressed for it). Overall, amateur reporting IMHO.
Summary, based on info to date, too little info to formulate any type of opinion at all.
I wonder. The USA and Russia are the world's largest arms supplier. Our weapons corporations don't make money if they can't sell product. The Patriot was new technology during Gulf War One. You have to sell while your product is "hot." I suspect this whole operation is blessed by top US decision makers. By the way, what year was Gulf War One and how long is technology "new?"