Colombia’s navy has intercepted 14 semi-submersible vessels, known as “narco subs,” in the Pacific Ocean in 2018, more than triple what it seized all last year, and the uptick comes as the country grapples with a sustained increase in cocaine production. Together with United States Coast Guard (USCG), Customs and Border Protection Air and Marine Operations (AMO), the U.S. Navy’s coastal patrol ship USS ZEPHYR PC 8 and the Colombian navy ship ARC 07 DE AGOSTO intercepted a low-profile go-fast vessel and seized more than 1,000 pounds of cocaine in the Eastern Pacific Ocean.
During a routine counter narcotics patrol, an AMO P-3 aircraft detected an low profile go-fast vessel, which is a custom made ocean-going, high-speed motor boat built by drug traffickers to smuggle large quantities of illegal drugs. The boats are primarily made of fibreglass and they travel barely above the surface making them difficult to see or detect by radar. The AMO P-3 crew reported the vessel to the Joint Inter agency Task Force-South, which vectored USS ZEPHYR PC 8 to make the interception. As soon as PC 8 changed her course to intercept the vessel, the suspected smugglers allegedly began jettisoning their cargo and jumped into the water as their boat caught on fire. Coast Guard law-enforcement team in an interceptor boat launched from the Cyclone Class Patrol Craft Zephyr rescued four suspected smugglers and transferred them to the naval ship. Both USCG and USN crews extinguished the fire aboard the vessel after fighting it for approximately 90 minutes.
Cyclone Class – PC 11 USS WHIRLWIND entering Grand Harbour, Malta on 17th April, 2000.
After the fire was extinguished, a Coast Guard law-enforcement team with members from both Maritime Safety and Security Team 91112 based in New Orleans, and the Pacific Tactical Law Enforcement Team based in San Diego, recovered approximately 1,080 pounds of suspected cocaine from the LPGFV. During the recovery, the Colombian Navy offshore patrol vessel ARC 07 DE AGOSTO PZE 47 arrived on scene to work with the Coast Guard law enforcement team to document the case.
Aerial Images of the OPV underway offshore Sicily back to 22nd July, 2015.
Armada Nacional de Colombia (Colombian Navy) Bell 412EP ARC 225 with serial 36639 constructed in 2013.
Watermarked Photos are by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Sunday 16th August, 2020