On the dark waterside docks of Shanghai, a photographer records cargo being secretly loaded. He's brutally killed and his camera destroyed. Two weeks later on the dangerous high seas, the US Navy covertly tracks a Chinese ship rumoured to carry tons of chemicals to create biological weapons of mass destruction. The President cannot let the ship reach its destination - a rogue Middle East nation. But he doesn't want the navy to attack and board it either, because decades of negotiations with China have at long last yielded a landmark human rights agreement that China is willing to sign.