A drug-smuggling sub has been seized by police after it was found abandoned on the coast of Ecuador.
Fishermen spotted the vessel in the sand in shallow waters off Tachina, near the border with Colombia, the cocaine capital of the world.
The Counter-Narcotics Unit of the National Police of Ecuador seized the semi-submersible vessel.
Authorities believe the sub is one of several built by the drug cartels for the lucrative Atlantic crossing to drop off points in northern Spain.
A video from the Armed Forces of Ecuador (FFAA) shows a soldier inside the handmade sub with water nearly up to his knees as he bangs on the translucent roof with his elbow.
During an inspection of the vessel, no traces of drugs were found, suggesting the traffickers abandoned it after successfully carrying out their mission.
Police are now working to identify its owners.
The FFAA said in a statement: “The Armed Forces of Ecuador combat drug trafficking and organised crime, in control and surveillance operations on the northern border, in Tachina, they located a semi-submersible vessel, used to transport controlled substances.”
Local media report that narco subs are typically used by Mexican and Colombian traffickers to transport drugs to the USA and Europe.
They have largely replaced speedboats because their ultra-low profile means they can avoid detection at sea.
Media in Latin America report that a 20-metre-long semi-submersible narco-submarine can transport about 10 tonnes of cocaine at 23 kilometres per hour.
Spanish officials seized a 20 metre narco sub, loaded with 3,000 kilogrammes of cocaine off the coast of Galicia, Spain, in 2019.
It was the first known incident of a drug sub crossing the Atlantic Ocean and was documented in the book ‘Operation Black Tide’ by Javier Romero.
The book was made into a documentary by Amazon Prime Video released in 2022.