Malaysian Q-ship

The return of the ‘Mystery Ships’

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.


  1. A better solution would be to raze the ports the pirates are using … and keep razing them until the local citizens kill any would be pirates themselves.

  2. There is no way to “police” the seas its too big an area. Q-ships are great in theory but are really not all that in practice. The problem is you need to attack the “choke points” and no one wants to go ashore in Somalia. The answer, may not be politically correct, but it is simple its called “collective punishment”.

    The pirates capture a ship then sail the ship to a “friendly” port for a nice round of ransom demands. Our response is to wait until the ransom is paid and the ship & crew repatriated. Then fly a B-52 to mine the harbor. The mines would automatically defuse in say 6 months. Pretty soon, the locals may not want to have the pirates in their harbor.

  3. Thanks for the memories, jaymaster.

    That song helped propel me into the arms (and later the beds) of many gorgeous women back in the late 60’s, early 70’s!

    Now it just brings a tear to my eye and a weak spasm to my loins!

  4. TJ,

    Yep, that’s a good song. I listened to it 4-5 times today.

    Alas, I was only 5 years old in 1970, so I didn’t get to do much “bedding” to the tune.

    And I had the perfect timing to come of age during the height of the AIDS scare. Beddings then were few and far between.

    But I still dream….

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