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Spanish Police Seize 9-Meter Homemade Submarine

In this photo provided by the Spanish National Police, March 12, 2021, a homemade semi-submersible submarine sits outside a warehouse in Malaga, Spain.

Spain’s National Police announced Friday that they had seized, a 9-meter-long, 3-meter-wide homemade submarine designed to smuggle 2 metric tons of illicit cargo.

At a news conference in the southeastern city of San Roque, Spanish National Police chief Rafael Perez told reporters the craft was discovered last month in a warehouse in Málaga, on southern Spain’s Costa del Sol, where it was built.

He said the discovery came as part of a larger international drug operation involving five other countries and the European Union crime agency Europol.

The submarine is made of fiberglass and plywood panels attached to a structural frame, with three portholes on one side, and is painted light blue. It was designed to be powered by two 200-horsepower engines operated from the inside.

Perez compared the submarine to an iceberg, with most of the craft underwater, and only a small portion visible from the surface. He said the ship had never been used, but that officials believed it was designed to sail to a mother ship, unload cargo, likely narcotics, and return to port.

He said he believed the vessel was intended to smuggle mostly cocaine, since hashish and marijuana are usually smuggled in trucks.

Similar drug-smuggling vessels have in the past been discovered in the Atlantic Ocean, especially off Central and South America, but the police said they had never seen a craft like it before in Spain.

The wider police operation in which the submarine was found netted hundreds of kilos of cocaine, hashish and marijuana in various places in Spain and resulted in 52 arrests.

The national police said law enforcement from Colombia, the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and Portugal also were involved in the operation.