This month, Spanish police authorities seized autonomous underwater vehicles, each capable of transporting around 200 kilograms of drugs. It’s not the first time police authorities have caught an uncrewed vessel carrying illicit substances.
🇪🇸Drug smuggling: Underwater drones seized by Spanish policehttps://t.co/JbGNWSa7hJ
— RILO Western Europe (@RILO_WE) July 6, 2022
These remote-controlled “narco-drones”, “narco-subs” or “underwater drones” herald a new era in international drug trafficking. Drugs and other illicit goods can now be transported across the oceans, controlled by a remote operator located anywhere in the world.
Drugs are clandestinely shipped to Australia with traffickers attempting a variety of methods. It’s only a matter of time before the Australian Border Force is confronted with these “maritime autonomous vehicles” being used to smuggle contraband into the country. These are ships or underwater vehicles that are remotely controlled or autonomous and don’t have humans on board.
Both international and Australian laws need to catch up.