RMN Ships In Aden

KUALA LUMPUR: The RMN will soon have three ships in Gulf of Aden, frigate KD Lekiu, PV KD Pahang and KD Inderapura, a support ship, to protect our shipping in the area following the hijacking of two MISC vessels recently. (see NST story below)

There is also the question of whether Malaysia should embark on a rescue attempt of the kidnapped sailors. I am sure Paskal has the capabilities to mount an operation but it appears that we lack the means to support such a risky endeavor. Furthermore, any rescue attempt, which remains plausible despite the navy’s lack of support equipment ie long range helicopters and aircraft, hinges on whether or not the kidnapped sailors are being held on the hijacked vessels. If they are on land, the logistical trail would be enormous.

Honestly, I doubt whether we can do it on our own even if the sailors are held on board the ships. Perhaps this is the time, we set side our own prejudices and get the help of other navies to bring back the sailors as soon as possible. The safest way is of course to pay the pirates quickly and after our sailors and hijacked vessels are on the way home, bomb those jerks to …..

–Malaysian Defence

Third naval vessel deployed to Gulf of Aden
By : Hamidah Atan and V. Vasudevan
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KUALA LUMPUR: The cabinet has no objection to the Defence Ministry’s move to deploy a crack team to the Gulf of Aden following the hijacking of two Malaysian tankers recently.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said the cabinet was informed of the move.

“We have no objection to it,” he told a press conference after chairing the National Economic Council meeting at the Ministry of Finance yesterday.

Bunga Melati Lima, fully laden with petrochemicals, was heading towards Singapore from Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, when it was hijacked on Friday.

It was the second MISC tanker to be hijacked in the gulf. On Aug 19, Bunga Melati Dua was hijacked.
Following the second hijacking, Malaysia International Shipping Corporation (MISC) ordered its vessels not to enter the area. Subsequently, two Royal Malaysian Navy warships were deployed to protect Malaysian merchant ships in the region.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the government was sending another ship to join two other ships to help protect Malaysian merchant ships in the Gulf of Aden.

Najib said the KD Pahang, an offshore patrol vessel, would join two ships — the frigate, KD Lekiu and the support ship KD Inderapura, which are near Maldives to help with the operation.

Asked if the ships would cooperate with naval vessels from other countries in the Gulf of Aden, Najib said it would depend on the situation there.

“We will see what is happening there and decide if we have to work with other ships for the purpose of security in the area,” he said after receiving Hari Raya cookies from the ministers and deputy ministers wives association (Bakti) at the ministry yesterday.

The Bunga Melati Dua and Bunga Melati Lima, with 65 crew members on board, are being held hostage by pirates.

Najib said the hostages were all safe and the government and the MISC were in constant contact with the pirates.

On the RM3 million ransom demanded by the pirates, Najib said it had not been decided and the decision was up to the parties involved in the negotiations.

Asked if the government had informed the United Nations about the presence of the country’s naval vessels in the area, Najib said it had not.

“But I will touch on this in my speech at the United Nations assembly on Sept 29.”

Asked if it was time for the country to introduce universal jurisdiction laws, where those who harmed Malaysians could be brought back to the country and tried, Najib said it was difficult to enforce.

“I am not sure about the legal aspects. These people are not law-abiding people. Even if we have international laws, how are we going to enforce it?

“We have to consider the practicalities of doing so.”

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Shah Alam

16 Comments

  1. So RMN after billion of Ringgit spent, you have your frigates, you have your helicopters, you have your Paskal, if this Somali pirates kick your ass, don’t come back to Malaysia

    Marhalim: Hash words, ShahF. Despite the billions spent, our forces capabilities remained limited. the soldiers I honestly believe can performed the mission but blood and guts in this case, its not enough. They need UAVs, submersibles, big guns and etc. Without it, even thinking of a rescue attempt is wishful thinking…

  2. Well, RMN or ATM is The Instrument to Enforce Policy (Malaysia Gov’t). A Malaysian Ship Flying the Malaysian Flag was attacked in International Water and hijacked for Ransom.
    1. RMN and ATM to protect the 5 MISC ships plying the Gulf. I believe small units of PASKAL will be onboard of the 5 ships for protection details. Asistance will be immediately render for any of these ships when attacked. Within 20 to 30 minutes by the Westland Superlynx carried onboard of the KD Lekiu. The Nuri carried by the KD Inderasakti will ferried additional PASKAL if and when required. This RMN must NOT fail.
    2. Rescue Missions for the 2 ships . I doubt this will happen as the situations is beyond the RMN. There are ships from other Nations already with the Somali’s Pirates. Rescue Mission will be very Complex. No easy solution but to negotiate.

  3. The French rescue mission of the hijacked yacht in April was carried out with similiar ‘limited’ resources – 3 frigates and 2 helicopters. Having adequate resources isn’t enough if you lack the political will. The ‘powers that be’ in KL have already stated that the 3 ships and PASKAL are there to protect the MISC ships and not mount a rescue.

  4. shahf,

    That is a not a very nice thing to say to the men and women in uniform putting their life on the line for the country.

    Even the much vaunted USS Cole, a guided missile destroyer could never have anticipated getting hit from a small boat ! The US Army Deltas and Rangers had a nightmare fighting the Somalis.

    Marhalim,

    I suppose this type of incident shows how thin our resources are. I mean 1 frigate, 1 OPV and a support ship and the Air Force Chief calls it an assault team when discussing the role of the Air Force in supporting the Navy’s mission in the Gulf of Aden .

  5. The French rescue mission was not the classic SAS style rescue mission. They paid the pirates USD$2 million to get the hostages. After all of the hostages were on safely board a frigate, a helicopter followed the pirates to land before a sniper blasted their vehicle allowing the French to capture four pirates and I presumed the hostage money as well.

    The French sent half a dozen warships, probably backed by nuclear submarines, at least five helicopters and a maritime patrol aircraft.

    I believe our Paskal has the skills to conduct a rescue but without the proper logistics, it is really unwise to embark on such a mission.

    It is better to do what the French did….

  6. I think the important question is how long the RMN will be able to maintain its assets in the Gulf of Aden, without a logistics train. Sure, you can refuel in Pakistan or some nearby country, but when somnething breaks down, its back to Lumut for repairs. Another interesting question would be to find out just how many MISc ships transit the Gulf of Aden annually?

    Marhalim: I believe that they can get support from the Saudi Navy since they also got BAE Systems reps down there in Jeddah port. We are also quite close with the Yemeni although they are mostly Soviet-equipped in the form of naval equipment.

    Thankfully most of the mechanical system on board Lekiu, Pahang and Inderapura are available in the open market. They only the mighty US dollars to move earth and heaven to make the repairs.

    I believe a lot of MISC ships are busy plying those Gulf states as other flag countries shy away from the region. We thought we were safe as we are an Islamic countries, didnt they know Jalur Gemilang from long distances looked like the Star and Stripes?

  7. I suppose the last 2 writers have hit military ops in the head. It is not the country with the biggest gun in this case, but the logistic of the entire situation. People rarely consider situation if medical evac is require or damage or the political might required even to get permission to dock in other Islamic countries for repairs. Being a member of the OIC does not buy a great deal of good will or support – pirates and bandits just do not care except for money.

    One of the most effect method is to have the RMN escort Malaysian flag ships thru the narrow Gulf, but then again, it is very expensive and logistically difficult.

    Remember, every time one of us mention about sending in PASKAL and RMN or any of the Malaysian Defence Force men and women, it is someone’s son, daughter, husband or wife. Their life is not cheap by my standard.

  8. Being a ship flying a flag of an Islamic state means nothing. The pirates will attack anyone for profit, even a MARTIAN ship. There was report that said the pirates were happy to get a Malaysian ship because of the halal food onboard. I remember way back in 93 or 92, an army officer, pior to leaving for Somalia, interviewed by either the STAR or NST, said that he was confident the Somali warlords would not attack Malaysian troops because both the Somalis and Malaysia were muslims. Yeah right! Apart from logistical issues and ‘wear and tear’, sending the Lekiu and NGOPV to the Gulf of Aden also means the RMN has less assets for patroling local waters.

  9. With 65 seamen from Malaysian registered vessels currently being held hostage and one known fatality, what more provocation is required?
    This is why the RMN to exists, to protect our maritime interests. If they unable perform this role, then they are of no value and should be disbanded.

    Paying the ransom will simply affirm the validity of their business model to the pirates, specifically by targeting vessels of ‘soft’ countries. They will be emboldened and enhanced by the influx of ransom money. Ultimately, we have to make the business of seizing Malaysian ships unattractive and this has to be by punitive means.

    This is not unlike the situation that the fledgling United States found itself in at the turn of the 19th century with her merchantmen being captured and their crews enslaved by the Bashaw of Tripoli on the Barbary Coast. These events were to be instrumental to the creation and survival of the what is today the USN and the USMC. This has been a capability that the RMN has secretly harboured for a long time but one that has floundered on the objections of the Army (pardon the puns) who claim the role but have utterly failed to develop any meaningful capability in this regard despite the years of CARAT exercises.

    Ultimately as a minor nation, we have limited capabilities at our disposal and yet we can generally count the Anglo-Saxon (and even the French!) hegemony to be our friends. With a little help from them, we can just about mount a credible punitive expedition against a 21st century Barbary Coast potentate to teach them a lesson that they should not quickly forget. We cannot afford to escort every Malaysian flagged vessel through to the Red Sea for the foreseeable future.

  10. Glad to see this blog is back up and running 🙂

    I think the Gomen was slow to act. First ship was hijacked on 19 August, 20 days ago.

    God knows when the sailors are going to be back safely.

  11. Gomen has more pressing issues on its mind such as junkets to Taiwan for back benchers and preventing the kataks from hopping.

  12. we need a battle fleet with aircraft carrier.

    We could have gotten a few battle fleets if not all the our trillions went into the pockets of our corrupt politicians families and their cronies.

    Marhalim: We do not need battle fleets, we need patrol boats….

  13. Guys, relax even the French which is listed as the fourth or fifth biggest arms spender in the world did not have the means to conduct a military rescue after the Somalis hijacked a French yacht.

  14. Ree…Excellent! I’m thinking that sacking and torching Eyl might send the correct message. Gotta negotiate in terms that they understand. Remember, the US at this time was considered a small player in the great scheme of things.

    Our main shortcoming right now is a severe paucity of amphibs. We have ONE. We also lack credible ship to shore capability either surface or rotary wing. If the Kanimbla modifications were expensive back in the day, they are now paying big time for the RAN. Incidentally we wanted another County class LST but none of the ones offered to us after the Spartanburg County were in particularly good condition and the RMN didn’t want to spend money on them.

    Our SOF also needs far better integration a la SOCOM. We are very much in the same position as the US was in 1979 during EAGLE CLAW. Each service arm lacked adequate familiarity with the others they had to work with. In our case, the major concern is the lack of experience of the RMAF from operating off vessels (no I do mean operating, not just landing and TO) and the lack of any meaningful SOF aviation support.

    I have previously postulated both a Joint Helicopter Force and a SOCOM type SF organization. Both would be key assets today. instead we have pissed away our ringgits on stuff we are not likely to use like MBTs and MRLS.

    Our Army is a dinosaur, big, unwieldy and poorly adapted to contemporary demands. Our SF has been has basically been left behind thanks to chronic under investment. It’s also the Cinderella of the Army as it isn’t RAMD and doesn’t use mega project kit.

    Simon

  15. my brother is on KD lekiu right now and a few of my friends are on melati 2 and melati 5 as well … do what ever they should but i only hope and pray that all of them will come back home safely .. ameen

    Marhalim: We all praying for their safety

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