Malaysia’s conversion of the container ship Bunga Mas Lima is apparently a response to the hijacking last year of two Malaysian ships, the Bunga Melati Dua and Bunga Melati 5.
This Marine Log story doesn’t specify what new kind of capabilities or weapons the Bunga Mas Lima has added as part of its conversion, nor does this post at the Malaysian Defense blog. But we couldn’t help imagining how sweet it would be if the sides of some of the ship’s containers folded down to reveal a battery of Mk 38 Bushmaster chainguns, for use on any pirate skiffs unwise enough to try a hijacking.
While this might nab a few bad guys, I’m skeptical that it’s going to do much to change the situation in a meaningful way. I’m thinking a few ships with helicopters prepared to respond would be more effective, but even that is going to be tough with so much ocean to cover.
Maybe some Predator-Bs with Hellfires orbiting on patrol? The key is to get firepower to the right place before the bad guys get aboard the victim ship. And finding out about the attempt, getting guns on the target, and getting clearance to shoot take too much time.
It still comes back to ships having the capability to defend themselves. They’re the only ones who are guaranteed to be in the right place at the right time.
Also see this post at New Wars.