Although ‘narco-subs’ are largely a Latin American phenomenon, Italian law enforcement routinely deals with go-fast boats and other smuggling vessels transporting marijuana across the southern Adriatic from Albania to Italy. On 22nd June metropolinotizie.it reported that a craft was intercepted that may drastically change the threat profile in the region and potentially foretell of similar developments elsewhere: a sea-going unmanned surface vessel (USV) for smuggling drugs.
The craft after being unloaded at Otranto. Note the outboard motor on the quay behind it. Vicinity 40° 8'52.34"N, 18°29'48.63"E.
The small open-topped ‘punt’ style craft had a single steerable outboard motor controlled by a simple GPS or radio control unit. The modest payload was two packages of marijuana totaling 37 kilograms.
The vessel was intercepted near to Otranto, Lecce, on the southern tip of the heel of Italy at the entrance to the Adriatic. This area suggests that the point of departure was likely in Albania, with the craft taking a short route of ~50 nautical miles. Drug-running go-fast boats frequently depart Durrës area of Albania heading for the Brindisi coast, a distance of around 80 nautical miles:
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