U.S. Coast Guard Intercepts a Submarine Off the Colombian Coast
By Dialogo July 30, 2009Miami (U.S.), July 28 (EFE).- A semi-submersible submarine was intercepted by the U.S. Coast Guard off Colombia’s Pacific coast, an official source announced today. The Customs and Border Protection Service (CBP) said in a statement that the crew of one of its P-3 airplanes detected the submarine on Thursday and notified the Coast Guard to intercept it. The four-person crew of the semi-submersible, a type of craft frequently built and used for drug trafficking, boarded an inflatable raft and scuttled the submarine. “Similar to a submarine, these custom-built vessels operate with a significant portion of its hull below the waterline, making it difficult to detect,” said John Stanton, executive director of the CBP’s air and maritime operations. Semi-submersibles are an example of how drug traffickers are changing their tactics to avoid discovery and transport large amounts of drugs and other smuggling activities from South America to Central America, Mexico, and ultimately the United States in these vessels, he added. The program of patrols with P-3 airplanes, which are technologically equipped to detect submarines, has contributed to the interception of around 68,000 kilos of cocaine in the last twelve months. The drug transit patrol zone includes the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Ocean.