Patterico's Pontifications


Narco-Sub Found in Ecuador

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 6:31 pm

[Guest by DRJ]

Ecuadorian authorities have captured the first verified narco-sub:

“Long the stuff of drug-trafficking legend, federal authorities announced Saturday that they have seized the first known and fully operational submarine built by drug traffickers to smuggle tons of cocaine from South America toward the United States.”

Authorities wonder how many more subs like this are out there, and whether Customs officials should add a submarine hunting mission. Looks like that’s an affirmative.


25 Responses to “Narco-Sub Found in Ecuador”

  1. If this sub is similar to the Chinese mini – subs currently operating in two oceans, we’re going to have a difficult time finding them. Apparently they’re too small to be detected by our sonar equipment because they usually travel just below the surface.

    Dmac (93e7cb)

  2. Das Boot meets Midnight Express

    Technomad (e2c0f2)

  3. Hiding in the surface noise. Crew of dozens, it said, but maybe the crew is a half-dozen and the other 30 are passengers? Into, or out of, the USA?

    htom (412a17)

  4. we all live in a narco-submarine

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  5. not really though

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  6. “The diesel-electric powered submarine was captured in an Ecuadorian jungle waterway leading to the Pacific Ocean”

    They didn’t bribe the right people. With the camouflage paint they were supposed to pretend it was an anaconda.

    daleyrocks (1d0d98)

  7. The first? Or the first one out of Ecuador?

    Alan Kellogg (599773)

  8. Alan Kellogg,

    It’s hard to believe this is the first. I guess it’s the first they’ve captured.

    DRJ (d43dcd)

  9. Actually there have been a number of these that have been captured.

    Menlo Bob (a35168)

  10. #7,Alan Kellogg,

    Your linked article said they were not submarines. They had fiberglass hulls and ran on diesel engines with the conning tower above water.

    Machinist (497786)

  11. if it says * it’s for reals that’s how you can tell

    happyfeet (19c1da)

  12. Comment by Machinist — 7/4/2010 @ 12:15 am

    It’s called “running awash”, but doesn’t mean you’re a submersible.

    AD - RtR/OS! (712fff)

  13. #12 AD,
    That is my point. These vessels that were encountered before were not submarines and could not submerge. That would make this one possibly the first, as the post suggests. He seemed to be questioning that.

    He linked an article suggesting it was not the first but it referred to craft that could not submerge.

    Machinist (497786)

  14. Who built it? That shouldn’t be too difficult to figure out. Are we trying not to embarass our enemies again?

    Paul (6d0c48)

  15. Paul,
    I doubt this is a military sub. The advanced electronics, weapons systems, and sonar would make them expensive. Old hardware would probably be too big and require too many specialized crew. I suspect this was a private venture. It is too cheap and too specialized to it’s purpose.

    Machinist (497786)

  16. sub may make dandy
    conveyance for nose candy
    only on surface

    ColonelHaiku (9cf017)

  17. It probably only has to make one trip.

    AD - RtR/OS! (ed07ac)

  18. I think you are right. One trip would make it extremely profitable with a cargo exceeding $100,000,000. More would be gravy but the difference would be proportionally small.

    Machinist (497786)

  19. 17.It probably only has to make one trip.

    Found on E-Bay: For sale- submarine, cheap. Low mileage, only used once. Not for people allergic to cocaine or who own drug-sniffing dogs.

    MD in Philly (3d3f72)

  20. 19. As If?

    AD - RtR/OS! (ed07ac)

  21. Machinist,

    From the looks of it, the Ecuadorian vessel was not a true submersible. Then again, neither was the Turtle of Revolutionary War fame, and we call that a sub.

    Not to mention the Hunley from the American Civil War.

    ‘Sides, people in the press call these drug running boats subs, so I guess they’re subs.

    Alan Kellogg (599773)

  22. Alan Kellogg,
    From the article in the post it does sound like a submersible. Unlike the ones you linked about this had a periscope and diesel/electric drive. Did you find other information?

    I understand about the Hunley but I wonder why you say the Turtle was not a submersible? It had to go underneath the enemy ship to attach it’s bomb. This is why the copper sheathing defeated it.

    Not trying to argue but interested in your thinking on this.

    Machinist (497786)

  23. I see I have to point some things out.

    First, these puppies are not new. Any regular reader of will be familiar with these, as they’ve been reporting on them for several years. The vast majority of them are semi-submersible. In fact, if you Google “semi-submersible drug boat,” you’ll get tons of information. I recall finding one photo of a semi-sub captured back in 2004, now mounted on the front lawn of the local Coast Guard.

    The Chron article claims that the craft was a true submersible, but I don’t know if any naval-literate folks were there.

    Going back to the above-linked StrategyPage article:

    These are not submarines in the true sense of the word, but “semi-submersibles”. The fiberglass boats, powered by a diesel engine, have a small “conning tower” above the water, providing the crew, and engine, with fresh air, and permitting the crew to navigate the boat. A boat of this type is the only practical kind of “submarine” for drug smuggling. A real submarine would be much more difficult to build, although you can buy commercial subs for a million dollars or so. These, however, can carry only a few hundred pounds of cargo, and not for long distances.

    The main problem with real subs is that they are not much more effective than the “semi-submersibles” that are coming out of Colombia (and even Europe). Submarines can only travel underwater, on battery power, for a short time. Otherwise, they are on the surface, or in a “semi-submersible” state, running on diesel power.

    A true submarine with a diesel-electric system capable of long-range underwater travel is still a very expensive and fairly rare vessel.

    Casey (da1438)

  24. See it in the headlines,
    You hear it ev’ry day.
    They say they’re gonna stop it,
    But it doesn’t go away.
    They move it through Miami, sell it in L.A.,
    They hide it up in Telluride,
    I mean it’s here to stay.
    It’s propping up the governments in Colombia and Peru,
    You ask any D.E.A. man,
    He’ll say There’s nothin’ we can do,
    From the office of the President,
    Right down to me and you, me and you.

    Horatio (e2e328)

  25. Nothing like those addicted to the INSANE War on Some Drugs

    Horatio (e2e328)

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