Semi-Submersible Intercepted Near Texas? Don’t Think So

Quoting one of the articles below, “© U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Military intercepted a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel loaded with more than 3,800 pounds of cocaine right outside U.S. borders.” 

I have seen a couple of articles lately that claim a self propelled semi-submersible was seized off Texas.

The first was, “Self-Propelled vessel intercepted smuggling more than 3,800 pounds of cocaine near Texas”

A U.S. Coast Guard cutter intercepted a self-propelled semi-submersible vessel engaged in smuggling more than 3,800 pounds of cocaine, federal officials said Sunday.

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), on November 13, CBP and Marine Operations (AMO) arrested the crew during operations in international waters (I don’t think this could be true–Chuck), and all three suspects will face charges in the U.S.

“The drug cartels are relentless and extremely innovative,” National Air Security Operations Center – Corpus Christi Director Allen Durham said.

“Interdicting self-propelled semi-submersible vessels requires expertise and the right aircraft. Air and Marine Operations will continue to beat the cartels at their own game to protect our borders.”

The multi-day operation from surveillance to interception, according to CBP, involved several interagency partners including the U.S. Coast Guard and the U.S. Navy.

AMO operates maritime patrol aircraft from Corpus Christi, Texas, and Jacksonville, Florida, to conduct long-range aerial patrols and surveillance missions along the U.S. borders and in drug transit zones in Central and South America, according to CBP.

The second was, “Narco subs: Texas mobilises to stem invasion of narcotic carrying submarines.”

“”The drug cartels are relentless and extremely innovative,” the Corpus Christi director for the National Air Security Operations Center said earlier this month. “Interdicting self-propelled semi-submersible vessels requires expertise and the right aircraft.”

“Texas is mobilising its drug agents and prosecutors to specifically target drug submarine builders and operators, ABC America reports.”

These both appear to stem from a press release that originated in Texas from Customs and Border Protection, presumably the National Air Security Operations Center – Corpus Christi Director Allen DurhamApparently the semi-submersible was detected by a CBP P-3.

As far as I can tell, the interdiction, which apparently occurred on November 13, actually happened off Panama.

If and when we ever get self propelled semi-submersibles going directly into the US, it will be a significant event with its possible implications for terrorism, but I don’t think we have any public knowledge of that happening yet.

 

Brookings Institute–A conversation with Commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard Admiral Paul F. Zukunft

Another video, this one almost an hour.

Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar

traps-janes-article1

NavyRecognition reports, “GeoSpectrum Technologies Inc. is pleased to announce that it has received a contract through the Build in Canada Innovation Program. Defence Research and Development Canada will test the TRAPS (Towed Reelable Active Passive Sonar) variable depth ASW sonar on Royal Canadian Navy ships.”

This system is seen as a possibility for both the twelve Kingston class “Coastal Defense Vessels” (970 tons, slightly smaller than the 210s) and the projected six icebreaking Arctic Offshore Patrol Ships. There is apparently no intention of using these on the more capable frigates.

TRAPS towing configuration, diagram from GeoSpectrum, Canada

TRAPS towing configuration

The system can be fitted in a standard sized 20 foot container.

TRAPS in 20 foot iso container.

TRAPS in 20 foot iso container.

GeoSpectrum claims :

“The modular design of TRAPS provides a variety of installation options, including containerization on multi-mission vessels and standard deck-mounting.

“The TRAPS system is ideal for small combatants such as OPVs, corvettes, ships of opportunity, and USVs. Applications include naval defence/surveillance, drug interdiction, homeland security, and other water-borne policing.”

In addition to detecting submarines and surface vessels, the system is claimed to be usable for:

  • Active torpedo detection
  • Torpedo decoy
  • Passive receiver
  • Black box pinger detection
  • Sonobuoy processor

A typical detection range of 50 nautical miles is claimed. If it works as advertised this might give most of our larger ships an ASW capability and perhaps help us detect semi-submersibles. Thales’ CAPTAS series is similar, with CAPTAS 2 and CAPTAS 1, designed for ships of over 1,500 and 300 tons respectively.

USNI News Video: U.S. Coast Guard and the Drug War

The US Naval Institute News Service has produced a short video on the drug war featuring the Stratton and her CO.

The video shows huge quantities of Cocaine on the flight deck of presumably Stratton. A viewer might assume the entire quantity was taken when Stratton successfully interdicted a self propelled semi-submersible with 7,000 kilos. Actually the deck cargo seen in the film is 30,000 kilos with includes not only Stratton’s haul but that of several other seizures.. These included other Coast Guard seizures and operations by other US agencies and international allies.