USCG Watches Coke Ship Sink


By The Maritime Executive 08-07-2015 04:35:37

The U.S. Coast Guard arrested a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel carrying more 16,000 pounds of cocaine 200 miles off the coast of Mexico. Authorities estimate that the cocaine is worth about $181 million. The four suspected smugglers were arrested.

The seizure took place after a Navy aircraft spotted the vessel and alerted the Alameda-based Coast Guard Cutter Stratton. The semi-submersible vessel seizure is the largest of its type in the Coast Guard’s history.

While the cutter Stratton was towing the semi-submersible vessel, it began to take on water and started to sink. The  USCG crew was able to recover about 12,000 pounds of the cocaine before it finally sank into more than 13,000 feet of ocean. The vessel is considered lost.

USCG officials say drug smuggling semi-submersible type vessels are generally low-tech submarines with only a cockpit and exhaust pipe for breathing. The USCG issued a statement saying its goal is to disrupt organized crime networks using these sorts of methods to smuggle drugs into the U.S.