Ecuadorean Navy Finds Drug Submersible

By Dialogo
January 12, 2012

A submersible belonging to Colombian drug traffickers was located by the Ecuadorean Navy off the Pacific coast, the Military announced on January 10.

According to the Ecuadorean Navy, a helicopter discovered the submersible together with two Ecuadorean-flagged fishing vessels, 97 kilometers off the coast of Puná Island, during a routine exploratory maritime air patrol.

“The vessels and their crews were held for investigation, while the submersible could not be captured, since it was sunk by its occupants, who remained floating adrift,” the Navy indicated in a statement, without specifying whether any drugs were seized.

According to a note published on the Ecuadorean Ministry of National Defense website, the Coast Guard Operations Command, “dispatched the missile corvette Galápagos, which rescued and arrested the submersible’s crew upon receiving the report from the personnel of a naval helicopter.” Meanwhile, the Coast Guard vessels Isla Puná and Río Chone initiated the interception and capture of the two fishing vessels.

In July 2010, a submarine capable of transporting up to 12 tons of cocaine and expected to make its first voyage to Mexico was seized in Ecuador. Ecuadorean military and police personnel found the nearly-completed vessel under construction in an improvised shipyard camouflaged amid a mangrove swamp near the Colombian border.