‘Clean coal’ projects not so clean after all, analysis finds FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Champions of coal say the superabundant fossil fuel can be made environmentally friendlier by refining it with chemicals – a “clean coal” technology backed by a billion dollars in U.S. government tax subsidies annually.But refined coal has a dirty secret. It regularly fails to deliver on its environmental promises, as electric giant Duke Energy Corp found.Duke began using refined coal at two of its North Carolina power plants in August 2012. The decision let the company tap a lucrative federal subsidy designed to help the American coal industry reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides – also known as NOx, the main contributor to smog and acid rain – along with other pollutants. In nearly three years of burning the treated coal, the Duke power plants collected several million dollars in federal subsidies. But the plants also pumped out more NOx, not less, according to data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency analyzed by Reuters.The NOx emission rate at Duke’s Marshall Steam Station power plant in Sherrills Ford, North Carolina, for example, was between 33 percent and 76 percent higher in the three years from 2012 to 2014 than in 2011, the year before Marshall started burning refined coal, the EPA data shows. The utility also discovered that one of the chemicals used to refine the coal, calcium bromide, had reached a nearby river and lakes – raising levels of carcinogens in the water supply for more than a million people in greater Charlotte. Duke stopped using refined coal at the plants in May 2015 because of the water pollution problems, said spokeswoman Erin Culbert. Bromide levels in the region’s drinking water dropped sharply several months later, said Barry Gullett, the city’s water director, in a 2015 memo.Duke’s experience reflects a fundamental problem with the U.S. clean coal incentive program, a Reuters examination has found. Refined coal shows few signs of reducing NOx emissions as lawmakers intended, according to regulatory documents, a Reuters analysis of EPA emissions data, and interviews with power plant owners, scientists and state environmental regulators.Consumption figures compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration show that American power plants are on track to burn about 160 million tons of clean coal in 2018 – a fifth of the U.S. coal market. That amount would generate about $1.1 billion in incentives at the current tax credit amount of $7.03 per ton. But most of the plants receiving the subsidy failed to reduce NOx emissions by 20 percent – the threshold required under the policy – in 2017 compared to 2009, the last year before they started burning refined coal, according to a Reuters analysis of EPA data on power plant emissions.More: Special report – U.S. ‘clean coal’ program fails to deliver on smog cuts
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Platts:China’s thermal coal demand is likely to fall once the world’s longest ultra-high voltage transmission line is completed by the Asian country, market sources said Thursday.China has launched its 3,324-km long transmission line that connects the coal-rich Xinjiang province in western China to Anhui province in the country’s east, Xinhua News Agency, China’s official news agency, reported Tuesday. Once completed, the transmission line is expected to reduce Chinese coal usage by about 30 million mt/y, according to the report.“In the past, it was difficult to transport coal out of Xinjiang, so the impact of Xinjiang coal production [on China’s overall demand] had been minimal,” an east China-based coal analyst said. “Now, with the direct power transmission, it’s equivalent to adding a stable supply to the market. In addition, Xinjiang coal prices are much cheaper [than other regions],” he added.About 66 billion kWh of electricity a year will be transmitted from Xinjiang to east China with a voltage of 1,100 kv upon completion, Xinhua reported.“Demand for thermal coal from coal-fired power plants in east China will fall further [with the launch of the new line],” an east China-based trader said. The line, once fully operational, will not only affect the demand for imported thermal coal, but also pressure domestic coal prices, the coal-analyst added.China imported about 281 million mt of thermal coal in 2018, and produced 3.55 billion mt, according to government data.More: Chinese thermal coal demand to fall with launch of new power transmission line New ultra-high voltage transmission line expected to cut into Chinese coal demand
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享WVIR:A federal judge has thrown out a permit needed to build a natural gas compressor station in Buckingham County. The ruling from a three-judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals is a victory for opponents of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline (ACP).The community of Union Hill has been fighting to appeal the permit issued by the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board. Now, Dominion will have to resolve the issues addressed by the court if it wants the project to move forward.In its written ruling, the three-judge panel said it agreed with opponents that the board failed to assess the station’s potential for disproportionate health effects on the community of Union Hill.“It’s going to force them to do the work they should’ve done in the beginning,” Sharon Ponton, a member of the Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League, said.Construction on the 600-mile pipeline that would run from West Virginia to North Carolina has been halted since December 2018.A statement from Dominion says it is confident that it can resolve the issues outlined by the court in a timely manner.[Annie Schroeder]More: Court throws out permit needed for Atlantic Coast Pipeline Appeals court tosses permit, further slowing Dominion’s delayed Atlantic Coast Pipeline
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享The Business Standard:In a bid to move away from dirty energy, the Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources is seeking the prime minister’s approval to convert 13 large coal power projects into clean liquefied natural gas (LNG) based plants.In a letter sent to the Prime Minister’s Office earlier this month, the Power Division said these 13 coal-based projects either made little progress or could not secure financing, a well-placed source said. Besides, coal power has become costlier in recent years than clean power.These ongoing projects have a total capacity of 13,000 megawatts – which is more than the country’s current power consumption. As such, the ministry suggested keeping only the projects that are already under construction, and five ongoing coal power projects having 5,371MW of capacity fit the criteria.The 13 other projects in question have acquired land, and they could be renegotiated into LNG based power projects, Power Division officials told The Business Standard.State Minister for Energy and Power Nasrul Hamid, who announced the policy direction to shift from coal, recently revealed that financing issues and slow progress are the main reasons behind the re-thinking on the projects. “As most of the sponsored companies failed to get financing, we have decided to rethink the projects. However, further discussion will be taken with the directive of the prime minister,” he had said.While coal power is difficult to finance, LNG attracts financiers easily now-a-days because of its declining price and clean reputation. Currently, the government is importing 1000 mmcf (million cubic feet) LNG per day through two floating storage units. However, it plans to increase the import capacity to 2,000 mmcf gas per day by 2030. Meanwhile, a total of five LNG-based projects with a capacity of 8,750 megawatts of electricity are in the pipeline. Payra 3,600 megawatts and Moheskhali 3,600MW combined cycle power projects are the two of these plants which will be implemented by Siemens and General Electric (GE) respectively. Summit Power also joined hands with GE to set up another big LNG based power plant in Meghnaghat.[Eyamin Sajid]More: Bangladesh plans to abandon coal, go for LNG Bangladesh power ministry seeking authority to cancel 13,000MW of proposed coal-fired capacity
Is Roanoke the Second City of East Coast mountain towns? Maybe.Does Roanoke care? Probably not.Sure, being called the Chicago of outdoor towns might be considered some serious southern shade, but for residents of the Star City, it’s darn-near a compliment.Like Wrangler jeans, Roanoke offers a solid itinerary of outdoor goodness, without the coolness tax, which can sting visitors to a town further south.Photo: Main Street Hub / Karin SmithThe new popularity of the Star City of the South (as Roanoke is called because of its iconic mountain ornament), inspired Diane Hailey to open the city’s 4th true bed & breakfast establishment. In Summer 2018, she cut the Grand Opening ribbon on her own inn to welcome tourists and guests to her adopted hometown. “I really strived to create the best Roanoke lodging option for outdoor adventure travelers,” says Hailey. Born in Waynesboro, Hailey is no stranger to the Appalachian Trail and Blue Ridge Parkway. “I’ve lived almost my entire life within 30 minutes of either the AT or the Parkway,” she says. “The Blue Ridge Mountains are my family,” she continues.Photo: Main Street Hub / Karin SmithFerrum College brought her to the southern point of the Shenandoah Valley, and she never returned to Augusta County. Instead, life brought her to Roanoke and she quickly jumped in to help Roanoke’s Historic Old Southwest neighborhood wash its face. In 2012, she bought her first neglected home in Old Southwest. “Compared to Charlottesville or Asheville, I purchased the Downtown Duplex for a song. I spent two years learning how to do a lot of the work myself and turned the duplex back into a beautiful single family home, “ Hailey explains. Hailey is quick to admit that she is a rehabilitator and not a preservationist. “I put my own stamp on my projects,” she explains. “My goal with a house is not to take it back to its original state, but to create a unique space for modern and energy-efficient living,” she explains.Photo: Main Street Hub / Karin SmithFor Roanoke Boutique Hotel, Hailey purchased a 3,500 sq. ft home in the same historic neighborhood, and even closer to Downtown. “The house was in horrible condition and had been boarded up and ignored for five years,” says Hailey. Once she took ownership, she gutted the c.a. 1890 structure to its studs and structural brick. After 3 months of careful demolition to expose the brick and rustic charm, the home was redesigned with hikers and mountain bikers in mind. Complete with king size beds, outdoor showering facilities, locked indoor bike storage, wide walkways, and a huge kitchen, Roanoke Boutique Hotel is an oasis for outdoor enthusiasts anxious to find lodging that doesn’t turn away the tired, sore and dirty. “I’m an avid hiker and an Appalachian Trail maintainer (Hailey co-maintains a 6-mile section on Sinking Creek Mountain in Craig County); therefore, I’m well aware of how dirty hikers can get, so I created an inn that embraces dirty gear,” she explains.Photo: Main Street Hub / Karin SmithWith easy access to the AT, Blue Ridge Parkway and Carvin’s Cove mountain biking, Roanoke has a lot to offer outdoor enthusiasts who are looking for value vs. brand name. And the innkeeper at Roanoke Boutique Hotel is more than willing to help plan a guest’s outdoor adventures. “My favorite part of running the inn is helping guests pick their hikes and plan their adventures,” says Hailey. “I make sure visitors maximize their days while they’re in town, and not waste time looking for the best fit for restaurants, breweries, and trails.” “Not everyone can hike the Triple Crown, so I size up their abilities and put them on a trail that won’t ruin their trip.” “If you hike a strenuous trail the first day and have to lay in bed for 3 days after to recuperate, you’ve taken away from the whole experience. I make sure the hike matches the hiker. “Photo: Main Street Hub / Karin SmithAnd Hailey is no stranger to strenuous hikes. In 2016, she and a friend completed the Triple Crown in one day. When a Roanoke Times reporter posted photos of the epic hike while the women were still on trail, the story quickly went viral and the two had a following of several hundred hikers before they made it from Dragon’s Tooth to Tinker Cliffs. The story quickly became one of the most-clicked photo galleries of that year, and remains a vivid memory for Hailey.“I knew that day I wanted to make a living helping people get outdoors.”
The most dangerous part of your next outdoor adventure isn’t a bear, snake, or psychopath: it’s your ego. And the hardest part of your adventure isn’t the steep climb: it’s being okay with failure.That means: just chill. Enjoy your ride, run, or ramble. Remember you are in the woods or on the water because you enjoy nature. Here’s what I’ve learned from many years in the saddle: Don’t get too caught up in proving yourself. Push your limits, be realistic, be willing to progress into new skills, and be mindful. Stay present.“I really don’t think ego can survive in total presence,” says Stephens Farrell, an Asheville mountain biker and road cyclist. “Being present is a great way to box ego out, but if he can sneak in there, he will.”Farrell learned this lesson the hard way recently while screaming down a steep mountain road at 35 miles per hour trying to beat his personal best on Strava. That’s when a squirrel dashed out in front of his wheel, resulting in road rash, bruised ribs…and a bruised ego.“I just got flung onto the ground,” Farrell says. “Thank you, ego. Who’s gonna take care of you if you kill the host? I want to say I learned something from my experience…but I was obsessed with getting my personal best on each section. Nobody was with me. Who else was I racing? Ego!”It’s okay to push yourself sometimes, but always remember why you’re outdoors in the first place.“When I’m in the woods, it provides a tranquil setting for me to be in a quiet place of reflection,” says Trey Thomas, a local mountain biker who works at Industry Nine. “When you’re trying to one-up, rather than being content and appreciative of that quiet space or just being with your friends, and feel you have to prove yourself and show how cool you are, that’s when you get hurt. That’s when mistakes happen.”Anxiety and shame—drop them. To cover their ego’s vulnerability, people say things out loud like, “I haven’t been riding much lately”…”I can’t afford to hurt myself”…”I’m really hungover”…”I’m old”…”something is wrong with my bike”…”My wheels aren’t as big as yours.”“They’re being insecure of their own skills,” says Thomas. “They’re afraid of failing, and the company they’re keeping become aware of their insecurities as a rider.”What’s more embarrassing than not keeping up is making excuses for not keeping up. Truth is, the better the rider, the more inclined they are to kick everyone’s rump from the jacked up saddle of a 35-pound Huffy on its metal rims. Buying an expensive bike does not make up for lack of skill.Competition is a biological drive. It can be fun. It pushes us, it makes us better, and it feeds our insecurities. But also be mindful and aware of any dark secrets spurring it.The most dangerous boater on the river is the one who thinks he has to prove his knowledge and skills. This guy isn’t taking in the magical mists on the river. He doesn’t notice the soaring osprey. He is only concerned with how knowledgeable and flawless he appears to others.“Ego will only get you in trouble with Lady River,” says raft guide Dan Caylor. “It’s all fun and games until you take that one scary swim, and then you can understand what the river can really do to you.”Randy Manuel, an EMT and Wilderness First Responder instructor, says many people who are rescued from the woods often underestimated the adventure—or themselves. They attempt an A.T. thru-hike without ever having spent the night in the woods before. Or they have never learned to properly poop in the woods and end up sick.Learn to laugh at yourself when you fail or suck. Know when to say enough so you don’t get sloppy and hurt yourself. Ask how to do it better. If you see somebody hit a five-foot drop, marvel, but if you’ve never tried it before, start off with learning bunny hops over small logs or maybe a one-foot drop. Enjoy being in the woods moving your body and doing something fun with your friends.Truth is, no matter how great we are, there is always somebody better. It’s okay.So how can we lose the ego? Here are a few hard-earned hints:Stop and smell the roses. Your friends will wait for you at the next intersection.Find your pace and be willing to learn new skills patiently.Prepare yourself physically and mentally, so you can be more fully present and less focused on your fitness or limitations.When people with more experience offer advice, humbly thank them and ask more questions. Riding, running, climbing, hiking, and paddling with friends who possess better skills and stamina is a great way to get better quickly, but you also have to ask ego to take a back seat so that you can outwardly admit the truth: I’m not as fit as you are. I’m not as skilled as you are. I’m not as experienced as you are.Be willing to make mistakes. Be okay with fumbling around in an effort to learn something new.
Following El Salvador’s passing of an anti-gang bill on September 2, Guatemala’s Álvaro Colom advocated to extend the law in the area known as the Northern Triangle, formed by Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Colom supported the bill proposed by his Salvadoran counterpart Mauricio Funes in June 2010, according to a report by BBC Mundo, and pleaded for the three countries to join forces against the resurgence of organized crime and violence by the maras (gangs) and drug-traffickers. Still, Colom noted that countries’ desire to join forces against crime is not new, and such initiatives have not always been effective, as in the case of Honduras, who has a similar anti-mara bill in place since 2003. Henri Fino, a lawyer for the Institute on Human Rights at the Central American University (IDHUCA) in El Salvador, told BBC Mundo, “Countries cannot combat gangs by themselves,” because it would only cause the problem to be transported from one country to the next. Salvadoran Secretary of Communications of the presidency David Rivas announced President Funes’ proposal is not only resonating in Central America, but also in Mexico, where a high-level commission has recently been created to work jointly against organized crime. After raising the issue in forums from Mexico to the United States, Funes requested Washington to join the fight against narco-trafficking. Meanwhile, the FBI has announced there are some 60,000 gang members in the Central America, especially in the Northern Triangle countries of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. According to their report, these gangs are responsible for criminal activities such as arms trafficking, drug-trafficking, extortion and murders in the region, underlined BBC Mundo. By Dialogo September 16, 2010
Following the success of Chavín de Huántar, government authorities viewed the MRTA as essentially defeated. Earlier that decade, the MRTA had already been severely weakened, with many members disbanding and surrendering their arms. In 1991, many ex-militia members even created a formal political party called Patria Libre that denounced violence. In recent months, mining and water protests in Peru’s provinces have used the MRTA’s symbols to rally protesters, and ex-MRTA members are turning up in the crowds. The 2011 video, coupled with reports of recruiting and unearthing hidden weapons leads security analysts to believe that a faction of the MRTA is actively forming an armed militia. The MRTA’s bloody past peaked in the 1980s. The armed militants, with organized fronts throughout Peru, had close to 1,000 men, according to retired Brigadier General Eduardo Fournier Coronado. They focused their violent attacks in the capital city of Lima, but had the strongest presence in the northwest Amazonian departments and the Andean departments of Pasco, Junín, Cusco and Puno. The MRTA’s tactics included attacks on law enforcement authorities, kidnappings, bank robberies and car bombs. One of MRTA’s most damaging schemes was the use of propaganda to recruit and rouse the public. Marches and programs on television and radio were used to foment chaos and encourage anti-government sentiment. Media reports indicate that the same tactics are reappearing in the mining and water protests across Peru. Such protests, while largely peaceful, sometimes turn into violent altercations requiring police intervention. A New Armed Group These Internet actions are not going unnoticed, and experts believe a new faction of the terrorist group is emerging. Jaime Antezana, a Peruvian sociologist and defense analyst, told Diálogo that no one can claim a direct affiliation to the MRTA as it was known in the 1980s, but he warns about a group that split off. This group calls itself the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Tupacamarist Popular Army of the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (FAR EPT of MRTA, for its Spanish acronym). Police became aware of a video from the group posted on the Internet in September 2011. “They are a group of the MRTA that survived,” said Antezana. He said MRTA members are dispersed in many Latin American countries, including Bolivia, Ecuador, and Central American countries, but the FAR EPT of the MRTA is establishing militias within the northwest Amazon region of Peru. “There are hints of their presence. They have dug up the weapons and are refurbishing them,” said Antezana of MRTA weapons that were hidden in the jungle when the group disbanded. MRTA militants would bury their weapons and blend in with the local community as a common tactic to avoid detection and capture. Many of the buried arms are still functional because they were covered with grease, wrapped in plastic and paper, according to terrorism and narcotrafficking analyst Pedro Yaranga Quispe, editor for online news source www.cronicaviva.com.pe. Reports that the group is recruiting and training youth in remote jungle areas are also a concern. “These are people that belonged to the MRTA, and they are recruiting young men,” said Antezana. Military commanders in Peru acknowledge that not all of MRTA’s arms were recovered, and the potential risks associated with their unearthing remains. However, a power vacuum by the State would have to emerge first. “Buried arms can be seen and if the moment arrives when there is a vacuum left by the State, [MRTA] will want to fill that vacuum, recover their arms and reform,” said Maj. Gen. Longa López. The unearthing of weapons and alleged recruitment are taking place far from the locations of the wall markings. Authorities in the cities where the markings appeared report that some do not follow the typical patterns of the MRTA. For example, the markings are in yellow paint instead of red, and some are on sidewalks instead of walls, and they do not fall within the typical MRTA’s propaganda methods. Still, authorities continue to investigate these acts as the MRTA symbols fuel an old ideology. Peruvian authorities remain watchful over these developments. “We are always paying attention, vigilant to any action that they could attempt — including those of propaganda,” said Col. Rosas Bejarano. The propaganda efforts that the MRTA deployed during its intense presence continue to haunt Peru. Although these markings have appeared off and on for years without violent actions, the MRTA symbols continue to represent a violent ideology associated with overthrowing the state. The real threat behind these markings may not be that the MRTA once known to Peruvians would re-emerge, but that sympathizers will keep alive their ideology and distrust for the state. Sources: Caretas, El Comercio, http://patrialibre21.blogspot.com, www.cedema.org, www.congreso.gob.pe, www.cronicaviva.com.pe, www.elmundo.es, www.losandes.com.pe MRTA’s Past By Dialogo July 01, 2012 New Beginnings Major General Leonardo José Longa López, former commandant-general of the 31st Infantry Brigade in charge of the Apurpímac and Ene Rivers Valley (VRAE), a known coca growing and terrorist hotbed, told Diálogo that instigating at protest rallies is a common practice by terrorists. Their goal is to accentuate sociopolitical divides and foster anger against the State. “This is a way in which they create vacuums, increasing contradictions,” said Maj. Gen. Longa López. “It is normal to see these figures trying to find political inclusion, so that later they can convert it to social inclusion and eventually armed social inclusion.” He explained that the State’s responsibility is educating the population about its role, confirming State stability and reducing social contradictions. Peruvian government officials and security analysts agree that the MRTA is not the imminent threat that it once was. “The Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement was destroyed in 2000,” said Maj. Gen. Longa López. “This does not mean that there aren’t sympathizers or people among society, but not as an armed group.” He classified the MRTA threat as “passive,” but one that should not be ignored at a strategic intelligence level. As most MRTA members were brought to justice, the group’s figureheads reportedly laid down arms and formed a legal political party. Among them is Victor Polay, former MRTA head who is serving a 32-year sentence for terrorism charges. He is active in the party through Web statements and interviews, granted from prison. Patria Libre condemns the use of arms, but keeps the narratives that are symbolic of many subversive movements in Latin America, such as “Without battles … there are no victories” and “We will triumph.” The party does not have any representatives in the Peruvian congress. The MRTA’s current presence has diminished to a few websites whose goal is to maintain financial support from sympathizers, said Peruvian National Police Colonel Herbert Raúl Rosas Bejarano, director of the Counter-Terrorism Division. “The MRTA is practically inactive, in terms of terrorist actions,” he said. Eerily familiar letters and symbols appeared on walls throughout Peru’s coastal towns in 2011. Universities, schools, government buildings and sidewalks were marred with yellow paint and white, black or red brush strokes that spelled out the once-feared acronym, MRTA. Symbols associated with the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, such as a club, rifle and the image of the Inca leader Túpac Amaru, were stenciled on walls. A video message of masked, armed men who claim to be a militia of the MRTA also surfaced in October 2011. Despite the group’s self-admitted disintegration in the late 1990s, many of its members are completing their prison terms and re-entering society. The question of who is responsible for the propaganda as well as instigation at protest rallies is causing concern among Peruvians who suffered from the terror once caused by the group. An armed wing that hides behind the MRTA’s symbols is also on the radar of Peruvian security officials. “Like all terrorist groups, or a group that has an ideology, we cannot think that it has been completely deactivated or that it has disappeared,” said retired Army Major General José Williams Zapata, one of the commanding generals of Chavín de Huántar, a military operation that in 1997 rescued hostages taken by the MRTA at the Japanese Embassy. CAN YOU HELP ME TELL THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE APRA AND MRTA
By Dialogo December 28, 2012 Argentine Naval Prefecture (Coast Guard) captured two Chinese vessels that were fishing illegally in Argentine Atlantic waters, near Chubut province (south) on December 25, after the security force fired “intimidating shots,” the institution informed on December 26. “Coast Guard GC-26 Thompson from Argentine Naval Prefecture (PNA) captured the 2 Chinese-flagged vessels that were fishing illegally within the Exclusive Economic Zone (200 maritime miles, equivalent to 370.4 km, from the outside territorial sea border), and “both were carrying a total of ten tons of frozen squid,” the organization said in a statement. Both fishing vessels were detected at about 249 miles in deep Atlantic waters, at the level of the touristic city of Puerto Madryn, in the province of Chubut (933 miles south of Buenos Aires), the report added. According to PNA, the Coast Guard GC-26 Thompson’s crew carried out a “pursuit operation” and fired “intimidating shots” on December 25, which ended with the capture of the Chinese vessels LU Rong Yu 6177 and LU Rong Yu 6178. PNA also said that the Coast Guard GC-26 “communicated several times by radio with both ships, and sound signals were performed, in accordance with international regulations;” however, none of the vessels sent any response whatsoever, and in turn, they attempted to “escape, trying to exit the Exclusive Economic Zone without being captured.” “Immediately, the PNA’s Coast Guard Thompson started a pursuit operation and intimidating shots were fired, after which it was possible to stop both fishing vessels,” the security institution said.
By Dialogo January 22, 2013 SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic – Patrolling off Colombia’s Pacific Coast on the night of Jan. 4, a United States Navy frigate intercepted a small boat carrying more than 600 pounds of cocaine, scoring another blow against drug trafficking for Operation Martillo. The USS Gary, a 453-foot Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigate carrying a U.S. Coast Guard team, pursued a small suspicious vessel north of Colombia and south of Panama. Aboard the vessel, Coast Guard officers seized 600 pounds of cocaine. The drugs will be sent back to the U.S. to be tested and destroyed. The shipment had a street value of about US$22 million, the U.S Navy said in a prepared statement. Lt. Cmdr. Corey Barker said men aboard the boat were detained and turned over to Colombian authorities, though their names were not made public. The boat was sunk at sea. “This was one of those vessels we were chasing in the dark,” said USS Gary’s embarked Naval Criminal Investigative Service Agent Leatrice Daniels in the statement. “There was great open communication with everybody involved. Everything just flowed – from pursuit to initial contact and boarding.” The interdiction capped off a week in which the Gary, which calls San Diego, Cal., its homeport, prohibited drug traffickers from moving an estimated 2,000 pounds of cocaine. Those shipments were worth about $272 million on the street, the Navy said in the statement. Barker said 1,400 pounds of those drugs were disrupted, rather than seized. “They [the drug traffickers] either return to shore or are otherwise stopped from proceeding,” he said. The USS Gary has been patrolling the Pacific and the Caribbean Sea as part of Operation Martillo, a coordinated effort to stem drug trafficking along the Central American isthmus by working with governments in the region and Europe. The U.S. Joint Interagency Task Force South leads the operation in which 14 countries participate, including Canada, Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, France, Guatemala, Honduras, the Netherlands, Nicaragua, Panama, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Launched in January 2012, Operation Martillo directly seized or assisted in the capture of 127 metric tons (279,987 pounds) of cocaine in 2012, authorities from the Joint Interagency Task Force South have reported. That has continued to this year. On Jan. 18, for example, the Honduran Navy said that an operation coordinated with U.S. agencies culminated in the seizure of 350 kilograms (772 pounds) of cocaine from a boat found on the northern coast of the Central American country. Success in capturing shipments in international waters has pushed traffickers to change routes, Barker said. “We’ve been so successful at interdictions out in the open water that we’ve seen traffickers now stay closer to coastlines,” he said. About 80% of cocaine shipments are moved via maritime routes. Nearly 90% of the cocaine that reaches the United States comes through Mexico and Central America, according to the United Nations International Narcotics Control Board. “They take it via waterways to Central America and then try to move the drugs north using ground routes,” Barker said. “That’s why you see so much activity on the U.S.-Mexican border.”