Remember that fully submersible drug smuggling submarine found in a remote jungle shipyard by Ecuadoran authorities last year?
Last month, we reported how the advent of full-on submarines has prompted U.S. and Latin American officials to up their game for hunting drug runners.
Now, it seems counter-drug officials have a new worry regarding the stealthy craft: terrorist smuggling.
From a great Houston Chronicle article about the new generation of illegal submarines:
While its drug smuggling implications are great, officials are worried terrorists might use a small submarine given the opportunity.The 73 foot-long sub could likely submerge to 50 feet below the ocean's surface; deep enough to avoid detection from most sensors that aren't designed to specifically find submarines. It may even be able to travel at five knots while submerged and carry seven tons or roughly $100 million worth of cocaine.
"The U.S. military is taking this threat very seriously and thinking through all the implications of this sort of platform," said Laurence McCabe, a professor at the U.S. Naval War College.
The submarine could carry terrorists just as easily as drugs, he said.
"They have now entered into a world of fairly elite, specialized skill sets, which are much easier to track and identify," McCabe said. "They are innovative people, and they are smart, but at some point you run into a technology wall and need to bring in special people."
Here's a UPI write through on the story.