Colombian Narcosubs

2013 ,    »  -   10 Comments
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Ratings: 8.52/10 from 23 users.
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Colombian Narcosubs

During the height of the drug trade with Pablo Escobar, the drug trafficking method of choice was for planes to leave from Colombia and land on secret air strips either in Mexico or in the US. Later, that became very complicated, and planes were often captured. Next, they started dropping cocaine from planes, but there were lot of accidents, and many people died. Then came the use of go-fast boats, but they became problematic too... 50% of the boats would sink. Basically, it was like flipping a coin. The boats were basically a gamble.

So, the Colombian organizations figured there had to be a safer way to transport the drugs. That's how the idea of the semi-submersible was born, without a clear understanding of how they were going to work. The first semi-submersible that was interdicted was found off the Caribbean coast in 1993. From then on they have evolved. They've improved their design, aerodynamics and, of course, their capacity. To date, Colombian authorities have interdicted or captured 36 semi-submersibles, both in open sea and in the estuaries.

Those are sub-standard ships, and their designs are not commercially available. Basically if you take away their top you can see that it has the body of an old cigarette go-fast boat. They've increased their depth, they've covered them, and they've added pipes for the crew to breath and for the engine exhaust. Because of their design one fourth of the semi-submersible remains above the surface.

Currently, construction time is between 35 and 45 days, and in the bigger makeshift shipyards, they build up to 3 or 4 at the same time. All the workshops are in the jungles of Buenaventura. That's where all the semi-submersibles of Colombia were and are still built. The roads to get there are inaccessible in many cases. The area is protected, in part, by FARC guerrillas and, in part, by the paramilitaries.

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10 Comments / User Reviews

  1. ZarathustraSpeaks

    Wonder where they came up with "they’ve added pipes for the crew to breath." I guess they learned this from "trial and error" ???

  2. Harry Nutzack

    the "right" way to run such a fleet op would be to have a semi-sub "running jam" 10 or 12 miles ahead of the fishing boat towing the torpedo, preferably with a high radar signature on the semi-sub (loaded with a dummy cargo of sandbags). any "heat" would descend on the semi, which could be scuttled on interdiction. technically, the semi could be fitted with an autopilot/gps rig with waypoints loaded to allow perfect fishing activity on the actual "load boat", while maintaining its lead. then you don't even need a crew on the semi-sub.

  3. M.

    I am a Canadian living in Valley of Cauca here in Colombia, about 4 hrs away from Buenaventura. The Colombian people are some of the most inventive and creative people I know. With all the money available and techniques such as mailing Cocaine inside sponges that look like packing material. These people will get the drug to market. I am sure that autonomous robotic submersible are already being tested. A submersible towing an antenna, with basic artificial intelligence is the future. There is no way to stop it. Mexicans will be flying micro drones to buyers along the border pretty soon. All drugs should be legalized and controlled through strong regulations. Demystify, educate and shame the users but let them have what they want. They should all be legalized. Robotics and drones are a game changer for the cartels.

  4. Highlander

    Should have made it clear that I am not looking to be involved as consultant or any involvement whatsoever in this trade. My stand would be legalise all drugs and stop the "cartels" ( especially the CIA )

  5. Harry Nutzack

    what you say rings kind of true, except for one key element. everything used on those semi-subs, or the torpedoes, is stuff i could buy on craigs list in any coastal city, today. everything shown can be bought at ANY port on this planet, off the shelf. absolutely sterile purchases. there are literally thousands of experienced workers who are dirt poor who could build those craft from first frame to launch.

    the other consideration is there is a crew. people aren't subject to a diode failure causing them to sail off to the bermuda triangle. they can react to visual cues a "robo boat" never could. they can differentiate a fishing vessel from a cutter on the horizon. a gps failure makes a robot "blind", a helmsman can "dead reckon" with a 50 buck compass, a chart, and a 500 buck sextant. most importantly, the load can't be ripped off by a programmer who gets greedy. a robot has no fear of its family getting a "neck tie" when it rips off the boss, the entire crew does however.

  6. Carl Hendershot

    You know it comes over in commercial airliners all day long.

  7. Glen

    Drugs will never be leagalise because Big Alcohol and tobacco company are behind the rules to keep it that way it is was people would stop drinking or smoking less and therefore sales would drop.
    Jails are also big business some shares can be purchased in some companies who run jail and the more victims in jail the higher the profit so cities push for a jail to create employment.

  8. CarimboHanky

    this was a nice piece... the only way to solve the drug trafficking issues is by legalizing different drugs, starting with weed... the only problem is that behind the so called "war on drugs" there is a big industry that would get affected if such drugs get de-criminalized. example, the prison industrial complex that have been booming for couple decades.

    making things illegal only add value to them. perfect sample is the prohibition era 1920-1933, the alcohol prohibition that gave rise to mobsters like al capone, john torrio and hymie weiss and all the violence that became the norm for the day...

    this mobsters saw their kingdom crumble when the prohibition was lifted.

    same thing would happen to people like el chapo guzman.

    legalize and regulate...

  9. cyberfrank

    you gotta love action and betrayal to be in this biz, one can hardly sleep wondering if the other guys won t cut him off for his share of the money... pretty stressful!

  10. johnnyringo

    Drug Enforcement is a big money machine that would never allow something like legalization to break it down....It must protect the very thing it was made to destroy (in a sense) for it's own preservation.There are just too many careers and families that rely & depend on it as a source of $$$$$$$.

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