Give them a taste of the Bushmaster or the Ma Deuce

HMNZS Wellington and the vessel Kunlun in southern waters.

HMNZS Wellington and the vessel Kunlun in southern waters.

Apparently the rust bucket illegal fishing vessels won’t stop or let our Navy board and apprehend them.

The navy was barred from boarding two boats fishing illegally for toothfish in Antarctic waters, which then tried to get away.

Captains of the Yongding and the Songhua have refused to let the crew board. The navy was attempting to verify the flag status of the Equatorial Guinea-flagged vessels after the Government gained permission from the central African nation overnight.

The Wellington’s crew also wanted to gather evidence to use in any future prosecution after shooting video of the fishermen hauling aboard their illegal catch.

In the past week they have busted three ships – linked to Spanish pirates – poaching in the Southern Ocean.

Foreign Minister Murray McCully said the Wellington’s crew had a “legitimate right” to board “but the vessels refused to co-operate”.

“Due to the conditions and the evasive tactics of the masters it was not possible to safely board these vessels,” he added.

“While this is disappointing, it is important that we keep the safety of the New Zealand crew as our paramount consideration.”

The boats are thought to be working in the freezing and remote waters for a notorious Spanish syndicate, and two of the ships have been internationally blacklisted.

The waters of the Southern Ocean, which were previously overfished, leading to the ban, are strictly regulated by the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

Forget CMCully’s diplomacy…these ratbags are pirates and criminals. They should be apprehended.

The Protector class Off Shore Patrol vessels have the following armaments and weapons systems:

Armament: 1 x Remote Controlled MSI DS25 Stabilized Naval Gun with 25 mm M242 Bushmaster cannon
2 x M2HB QCB .50 calibre Browning machine guns
Small arms
Aircraft carried: 1 x Kaman SH-2G Super Seasprite helicopter. Can be armed with a combination of homing torpedoes, depth charges, Maverick Air to Surface missiles, M60 Machine Gun. 1 x A109 light utility helicopter (alternative to Seasprite)

I’d start with a tickle up of the Ma Deuce (Fifty calibre MGs) and if that doesn’t get their attention then the Bushmaster should see them heave to pretty damn quick.

If that doesn’t work then those Maverick missiles will punch a bigger hole int eh side than their crew can patch…good luck in the Southern Ocean in a life raft.


– Fairfax


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  • steve and monique

    One across the bow, the next in the hull, then one for the wheelhouse.

    • Old Man, Torbay.

      Agree. Our navy has been diplomatic. our government now has to show that NZ means business.

      • steve and monique

        Guess to PC is the problem.

        • mike

          No its the fact that any use of force by RNZN personnel could lead to criminal proceedings against those individuals.

          Do any of you want to see a NZ naval rating locked up for murder? If you think that this doesn’t happen please research Lee Clegg.

          His case is used in our LOAC classed.

          • Forrest Ranger

            Lee Clegg should never have been charged in the first place. He was hung out to dry, primarily for political reasons.His murder conviction was eventually quashed on appeal.
            No one would like to see any naval rating in court over an incident at sea. However, the circumstances here would be very different as any order to engage would come from an officer on the ship and only after it had been cleared by the government.

          • thehawkreturns

            Exactly. No realtionship to poor old Clegg.

          • mike

            He was let down by the British Government, that’s for sure…

            But the circumstances are the same though. Clegg was prosecuted because the fatal shot was fired when the car was through his check point and no longer presented a threat.

            In this case the boat is not presenting a threat the HMNZS Wellington and therefore it is not lawful for them to use force.

          • niggly

            Interesting item on TVNZ news last night in which a maritime lawyer praised MFAT and the Govt’s handling of the situation, saying the the Govt is pushing the boundaries of the law to try and sort this issue out.

            I have the highest regard for the Navy in this situation, as you say, until the legal issues are sorted the Navy will just have to hold-off firing rounds across the fishing vessel bows etc. (And no doubt some civil liberty numpties would force a legal case against the Govt/Navy if the could get half a chance)!

            The TVNZ report (although unsure how old the footage is) shows that the sea conditions are not good, and apparently the fishing vessels are trying to out-maneuver the Navy boarding crews, presenting a dangerous situation for Navy personnel.

    • thehawkreturns

      Never fire a warning shot. A verbal warning is all that is necessary.

      • steve and monique

        Yeah, that’s worked a treat for them.

        • thehawkreturns

          Methinks you both missed the point of my comment. To make my meaning clear for you, after a verbal warning has been given no further warnings are required before shooting to kill/sink. Warning shots waste time and ammunition. Only amateurs and film studios use them. Both such wastes would be paid for by working New Zealanders. I am not prepared to ask my fellow Kiwis to subsidise “practiced misses”.

          • steve and monique

            Sorry did miss point. Happy to agree with you, and lets not miss the target

  • yoyoyo

    fire the cannon

  • conwaycaptain

    The only time the RNZAF Skyhawks fired a shot in anger was at some fishing boat trying to escape NZ Jurisdiction.
    Why not one across the bow and if they don’t stop one into the fore peak tank and after that the aerials and comms. The a heavily armed boarding party and any hanky panky then use armed force

    • niggly

      I feel there is a certain irony when comparing the current situation with that from around 1975 (I think it was).

      In 1975 an overseas fishing vessel was fishing illegally and a RNZN patrol boat intercepted it. The fishing vessel ignored the patrol boat and carried on. A RNZAF Skyhawk was then dispatched and fired a few 20mm rounds in front of the vessel and it then decided to stop and be boarded.

      In 2001 when the Skyhawks were disbanded by Helen (and to this day) the “peace-activists, lefties” etc, laughed off the importance of the Skyhawks by claiming that the only time they fired their weapons for real was at a fishing boat (i.e. “snigger, snigger, a fishing boat” is the catch-cry one hears from the left).

      Fast forward to 2015, “an overseas fishing vessel was fishing illegally and a RNZN patrol boat intercepted it. The fishing vessel ignored the patrol boat and carried on”. Unfortunately NZ now doesn’t have Skyhawks, or F-16’s (the Skyhawk replacement deal that was cancelled by Helen in 2000), nor are the long range P-3 Orions armed with machine guns (or rocket pods anymore) and unfortunately the Navy is back to “1975” in effect and cannot stop the vessels.

      Rhetorical question time: I wonder if the sniggering Lefties and activists have realised that perhaps having an “armed” air force actually gave NZ the means to effect real change, if not at war, then in peacetime when dealing with illegal/pirate fishing vessels?

      • The 25mm Bushmaster would open that tin can in a heartbeat.

        • niggly

          You might like what the 25mm Bushmaster was upgraded/replaced with recently! Features better all-weather day/night optics and the gun is more accurate …

          Same as what was fitted to the Frigates a few years ago.

          • I went on Israeli fast attack boat with 25mm Bushmasters when in Israel…when they ask you to stop they do precisely that basically because they know the IDF WILL shoot you if you don’t

        • Brian Badonde

          Cam, I am having a conversation with Mike in this thread. Mike claims that the crew are not trained to “fast rope” from a helicopter. If that is true, then that is an absolute joke. Could you shed some light please. All these expensive toys and we can’t use them properly??

      • R&BAvenger

        It was 1976 I believe, covered by Don Simms in this book :

        A summary of the incident is located here:

        “Although the RNZAF Skyhawks were never used for air-to-air combat, they were used on one occasion in the air-to-ground role. On 30 March 1976, two RNZAF Skyhawks, flown by F/Lt Jim Jennings and F/Lt John Herron, were required to head off a Taiwanese squid boat (Kin Nan – see above), which had been caught fishing inside New Zealand’s territorial waters. After the offending boat failed to stop for the naval patrol vessel HMNZS Taupo, Jennings fired warning shots into the sea in front of it. The Taiwanese captain had no problem in understanding the message the Skyhawks delivered and stopped his vessel immediately.”
        I believe that the shells from the 20mm cannon that were fired in the 1976 event would have been sufficient to sink that vessel, if it had been hit and holed below the waterline.

        This was within our 12 mile EEZ I believe, a lot closer to land than the Southern Ocean is.

        Another comment of interest at this link “This incident received world-wide media coverage and sent out a clear message that New Zealand was serious about protecting its borders and would use force if necessary.”
        While this is not a border issue, it is an issue around enforcing an international ban/limits on fishing in an area that has previously been overfished.
        No force used, no example made of these pirates, means this will continue to happen.

    • Hard1

      A fishing boat and a brief appearance in the NZ movie Sleeping Dogs,. The whole Skyhawk saga was a complete waste of an incredible amount of money from start to finish.

      A new procurement saga is about to unfold, when all they need is the C-130J Super Hercules, with a few KC-130J tanker variants, which will be able to serve as an overwatch aircraft and can deliver ground support fire in the form of Hellfire or Griffin missiles, precision-guided bombs, and eventually 30mm cannon fire in a later upgrade.

    • Tony

      and then you have a disabled vessel 2000 miles from shelter which you have now taken responsibility for. I really don’t think that you know how dangerous it is down there. It is not off Bluff you know – it is just off the Antarctic continent.

  • Hard1

    Following the longest ocean chase ever, the Aussies stuffed up in court and these same fishing pirates got off . Let’s get real here. Disable the thieving pirates.

  • Davo42

    They are fortunate that they are being chased by the worlds softest Navy, if it were the French forces they would already be in Davy Jones locker.

    • steve and monique

      or the Russians

      • thehawkreturns

        Even the Indian Navy

  • cows4me

    I’ve heard quite a few speak of diplomacy. A few well placed bullet holes would achieve in a couple of minutes what ten years of jawing would ever do. These scum will be laughing till the cows come home and will be back for a refill next summer. They need to be sent a message that they will take notice of. If they are back next year with their own warship let them be, the cost of running such an operation will make this fishing uneconomical.
    edit grammar

  • Caprice

    I dunno ’bout taking on these guys. They are obviously brave and desperate, heading off to the southern ocean in that thing.
    If someone offered you a free ride to Waiheke in a tub like that, would you accept?

  • yoyoyo

    send in some Jihadis

  • johcar

    Perhaps that picture is misleading. Maybe they’ve just stopped to feed the birds….

  • Forrest Ranger

    I was thinking this yesterday when I watched the news on TV. The government have given the Navy permission to board these ships and country they are flagged under Equatorial Guinea has too. There was some bollocks about it being potentially dangerous for the crew to board these ships. I have to assume that means it is difficult to do in the conditions in southern ocean because it surely can’t mean that they are out gunned!
    Now it is up to our Navy to show us that they are truly professional and can do the job they have been asked to do by our government. Also, let them demonstrate value for money to us taxpayers.
    Let’s start with a few noisy cannon shells across the bows and take it up from there. In the event that one of the fishing boats sinks then I am sure there is enough room on the patrol boat to accomodate the fishermen and transport them back to New Zealand for prosecution.

    • Tony

      Wrong – they were not flagged to EG, so EG could not provide approval.
      My navy (and yours) is totaly professional – maybe what is less than professional is an ex-Army politician using the media to make silly statements.

  • A light tickle down the hull above the water line while aiming the big guns should be enough to prove they are serious

  • Graham

    But if they threw more than wet bus tickets at them Wussell might object.

    • niggly

      Poor Russel and the Greens must be conflicted. They clearly wouldn’t have time for pirate fishing vessels plundering protected fish stocks … but I bet they wouldn’t want the “naughty” Navy firing off “weapons of war” at “defenceless” fishermen. Sigh.

    • Beetle

      Wussel could be our secret enemy here. The navy could put him on the boat to talk to the captain. By the time he’s done whinging about what a terrible and brutal government we have all 3 rust buckets will have dissolved into the ocean (with wussel too).

  • conwaycaptain

    You don’t have to board.
    One across the bow and follow me, if that doesn’t happen one in the FP Tank and follow me, if that doesn’t happen then shoot out the aerials and follow me. They will then

  • Toothbrush76

    Why send the navy and then ham-string them because it may be a bit dangerous or for some other specious diplomatic reason.
    They fished out the North Sea and many other places around the world. As stated there has been over-fishing in the Antarctic.
    If nothing is done and/or the legal wrangling goes on for years without a satisfactory result why have regulations.

    • Hard1

      Safety comes first in NZ’s Military!. Strewth…OSH have achieved perfect penetration. They’re probably all wearing fluoro with Stop/Go signs.

  • Pete

    Check out how the English and Icelandic’s faced off against each other in the Cod Wars..shots were fired.!

  • jaundiced

    Sub-contract to Sea Shepherd. Say what you like about them, they had the Japanese on the run!

    • mommadog

      Agreed. These guys (the poachers and our politicians) are making our Navy look like Pansies. I bet they have trained for it but are being held back. This would be a really good training exercise.

    • Bob D

      As I recall, they just ended up getting themselves rammed. Of course, then suddenly they wanted to talk about the Law and so on, having done everything in their power to break it.

  • jaundiced

    If a policeman asks you to stop, you stop,. If not expect force to be used.
    When a navy patrol boat asks you to stop, you stop. If not, that’s why the patrol boat has guns.
    What is the matter with New Zealand? We even asked the government where the boats were registered for ‘permission’ to board.

    • mommadog

      If nothing happens soon then expect more ships illegally fishing next year and the year after. All NZ will prove is that we don’t have the guts to do anything about it and the illegal fishermen/ the companies they work for will all know it.

    • mike

      Yeah but a cop won’t fire a shot in front of you to get you to stop.

  • tjb

    What a good idea, be a Soft Touch & invite even more pirates into our EEZ.

    • Tony

      They were not in the EEZ. They were in International waters off Antarctica. This is a very different area of the law. I can’;t say a great deal but for goodness sake would you please just trust that the NZDF knows what it is doing?

  • Brian Badonde

    “While this is disappointing, it is important that we keep the safety of the New Zealand crew as our paramount consideration.”
    Sorry but isn’t this what they train for?? Do your job!!! That’s what you get paid to do.

    • Missionary

      They do do their job. They just aren’t allowed to. Big difference matey.

    • mike

      I wouldn’t be so quick to judge our service people as cowardly.

      • Brian Badonde

        I didn’t judge them as anything. I know most of them will have bigger balls then I do. They should use them!!! The conditions in the photo seem ideal to board and they have a helicopter!!!!

        • mike

          I don’t think any of our sailors are trained to fast rope from a Helo onto a ship so that rules out that option.

          And your statement “Do your job!!! That’s what you get paid to do” is at odds with your claim to not be judging them.

          • Brian Badonde

            Telling someone to do their job is not judging them. It is certainly not judging them as “cowardly” as you suggested I did. I find it hard to believe that none of the crew are trained to fast rope but I am no expert. Either way they could also go alongside in a rubber duckie with someone on the trigger on the Patrol vessel as a backup. If they are not able to do any of those things, then why are they there?

          • mike

            Look at your statement in the context it was made and you should see why that is the impression I have gotten from it.

            They are there because they are doing the best job they can it the circumstances they find themselves in. ROE’s will have tied their hands, and while they may dearly like to let rip some rounds and board the vessel both actions have their risks. And at this point those risks probably outweigh the rewards.

            Second guessing the Captain and crew of that vessel is not helpful, and quite frankly is disrespectful to them.

          • Philonholidat

            And exactly what do they fast rope from?

          • BR

            It’s not the sailors’ fault, it’s the politicians and other overpaid frauds in Wellington who are ordering them to exercise restraint.


          • mike

            I concur with you BR.

            That boat should be at the bottom, but until such a time as ROE’s are relaxed and Governments able to take action without fear of prosecution in the ICC then they will sail with impunity.

            It’s not that we are soft, its that we abide by the law (well mostly)…

          • The wildman

            I think this was the point brian was trying to make but without explaining in detail.saying “do your job” may be taken a couple of the single sailor must take orders from above and so on and so on their directives must come from the top, or the rules are already set out.when i read his comment i took it as brian saying overall to the system/processes to sort their “stuff” one should be critisising our forces as they are only following orders.correct brian???

          • Philonholidat

            What helo. The ship doesn’t have one onboard!

  • Jas

    Why aren’t the Greens there protesting them?
    Don’t worry I know the answer.

    • Henry Filth

      Because Sea Shepherd are there protesting.

  • john Doe

    What a waste of time for no effort. She was obviously sent down South to have a look at these vessels. If they are not going to show a bit of force the Government may as well recall HMNZS Wellington to home port and sell her.

  • Rex

    Warn them to stop or you will shoot their rudder off. Only need to do it once! I saw on the TV pre Xmas the Russians stopping a Somali pirate ship. Biggish boat also. They turned a gatling gun on it and blew it to bits! The West is TOO soft. That is why our civilisation will be swamped unless we learn to play ROUGH!

  • thehawkreturns

    It is critical for the NZ Navy to be authorised to use force in these cases. If necessary the ships should be sunk. If NZ is to be considered as any form of useful partner in regional geopolitics then it must be used at the least as a universally acknowledged policeman for the antarctic fisheries. Obama has pivoted the USA to the Pacific to react to the rise of China. Australia, the US ally, will look north to enforce its zone of interest with Indonesia and China. Both will rely on little NZ to be willing and able to flex a little muscle over minor economic disputes involving fisheries and put down destabilising revolts in minor Pacific Islands. There is far more at stake here than a few toothfish. Let us hope the Government read Whaleoil and can take advice from senior MFAT advisors who must surely be calling for action.

    • Bretto

      According to the horror they are authorised, but didn’t want to get rough for safety reasons… probably too many forms to fill out if someone fired a shot.

  • WestieBob

    Looks like the NZ Navy have taken a leaf out of the police handbook. If you run away we won’t chase you so of course from now on everyone will run away. If this is the case save on fuel and don’t bother sending anyone down there.

    • Bretto

      Yes ironic that the liberal “hug everyone, safety first” approach is preventing conservation objectives from ever becoming reality.

  • Cadwallader

    Isn’t there something called “Gun-Boat Diplomacy?” Why aren’t these tubs on the floor of the ocean by now?

    • Just a thought …

      Yes there is ” Gun boat diplolmacy” , otherwise known as “my gun” is bigger than yours – stop or I shoot ……

  • All_on_Red

    Why don’t they take some selfies of the Navy holding a placard with the hashtag #stopillegalfishing and post it on Twitter. Get George Clooney and Kate Blanchard to retweet it.That will work/sarc.

  • tinfoilhatguy

    Fire a few shots across the bow, then send an armed boarding party over. This is setting a really dangerous precedent and if NZ does not lower the boom on the scumbags clearing our fish stocks out, it’s open season and we’re a laughing stock.

    This makes me really angry. They deserve to be taken off the ship and it gets sunk on the spot.

    • One across the bow then one just behind the bow about 1/2 a metre below the water line.

  • BR

    The navy costs billions to run and maintain. What’s the point of the country spending all that money in a navy if it isn’t going to use it? They might as well have sent a tugboat.


    • mike

      Actually only about $660 million…

      • Alright

        “Only” $660 million!

        That’s a boat load of taxpayer dollars.

        You also need to factor in the capital cost of “our ships.”

        • mike

          Peanuts when compared to the over $27 billion for social security.

          Which would you rather fund?

          EDIT: Each ANZAC Frigate had a total through life cost of $20 billion. That was to buy the ship and operate it for 20 years, so part of the $20 billion is included in the $660 million operating budget

          • Alright

            The direct answer to your question?


  • Alright

    One doesn’t even need to speculate what the Singaporean Navy would do. Its the reason Singapore has never had “boat people” problem.

  • Huia

    It really is time we took a tough stance on this and every other breach in our waters and at our borders. We have to act firmly and quickly as we are becoming an absolute joke with this PC softly, softly approach. Surely the powers that be have reached the same conclusion most rational people have by now!! it dosen’t work.
    The perpetrators keep pushing the boundaries and we should be taking the position where the bad guys know we mean business and wont be dancing around the issue. They are pirates, they are fishing illegally, they just keep returning and its time to end it one way or the other. We have a lot of coast line and marine boundaries therefore we need to be able to protect what we have.
    If it had been a few years ago and a soviet sub was breaching the international marine laws, then would we have stood there taking photo’s of them? no we wouldn’t. The frigates would have been there along with the air force, and we would have made our presence quite clear.
    Bring back some backbone NZ and let the Navy do what it can do without hamstringing it with all the PC stuff going on. These jokers are breaking the law, let the Navy deal with them quickly and firmly, that is what they are there for.

  • Nebman

    Wussell and the Greens have been very quiet about this. Wonder what they would do. …

    • mike

      Same as usual… nothing. Then complain nobody did anything.

  • Hard1

    They are low on fuel and going home. End of….nothing?.

  • sandalwood789


    If they’re not going to use the guns, remove them and replace them with a statue of Mr Blobby or something.

    Come on now, navy – harden up.

  • Wallace Westland

    Gerry Brownlee today saying Ron Marks was stupid for suggesting a shot across the bows if they won’t heave to as there is nothing to be gained from starting a war.

    Idiot. War with who? Equatorial Guinea? Ha. Spain? As if!

    Poaching pirates need to be dealt to. This is nothing less than piracy and they should have been forced to stop, boarded,their captains arrested, convicted, imprisoned, sent home and their piles of pus rust buckets seized and sold for scrap metal.

    I’d guarantee that a lot of the crew are virtually forced labour living in gulag type conditions.

    National need to start manning up a bit on a lot of fronts, they are seriously beginning to look like panty waists. No one is going to declare war for illegal pirates operating under a dodgy flag. Lest of all a basket case like Equatorial Guinea!

  • Damon Mudgway

    Seems to me that the Masters of the rust buckets know EXACTLY what they are doing. A naval ship is governed by rules of engagement. There is no act of war here, so the navy is limited to rules set down in law. Sometimes you can only do what you can do.

    Sea Shepard on the other hand is not governed by such constraints, so maybe they could go all ‘pirate’ on the pirates.

    • I.M Bach

      Maybe it’s time the ‘rules of engagement’ were altered, slightly.

  • Mark Chapman

    The Bushmaster sounds like a great idea. The old ways of the sea – a round across the bow when you are somewhere you should not be, doing something that you shouldn’t.

    Instead NZ will be caught up in political, international court wranglings that will cost us a lot more dollars than a few 20mm rounds would.

    NZ Navy people , not the NZ Floating Wet Ticket Brigade.

  • Steve

    I say bring back the Skyhawks. In 1975 during a rare show of political brinkmanship the RNZAF was ordered to shoot across the bows of the Taiwanese squid boat Kim Nan.
    Many pairs of soiled trousers resulted and the message was truely fired home
    A great Eric Heath cartoon appeared the following day. Surprisingly it was under the Labour govt of Bill Rowling who was a bit of a wet bus ticket in his day. If it had been a few months later under Rob Muldoon I’m certain it would have been a sidewinder amidships and it would have been fried calamari for the air force and navy

    • R&BAvenger

      Sorry, you’re wrong about the government of the day. It was a National government and Muldoon gave the order. The 20mm cannon shot under the waterline would have been sufficient to sink the ship I’d guess.
      That incident was well within our EEZ, this is in international waters, so a different kettle of fish.
      The captain of the Wellington is in the best position to make decisions and he has done so. He should be supported in that decision, even if you don’t agree with it.
      Hopefully there is enough evidence to prosecute these ships and prevent them from fishing again.

      • Steve

        Before you so assertively attempt to correct me please research your answers. The incident occurred on31 March 1975. On the day the 37th Labour govt was in power finally getting kicked out, thk god, by national in December1975. Hence my remark re Rob Muldoon. I am well aware of the territorial differences and thee are international maritime waters but if you read Bruce Kencht’s book
        ” hooked , pirates poaching and the perfect fish” you’ll understand just how ruthless these operators are as the Australian Navy chased these boats for months to bring them to justice.
        It needs govt will to step up enforcement otherwise they just sail off to a port of a state that is mot one of the 25 signatories to the imternational treaty and dipose of their catch there’s seriousoney to be made so it alwYs finds a market despite Brownlee’s
        pontificating about restricting their market access as a way of curbing these pitiless sea rats

  • JustanObserver

    What disappoints me the most is it seems our ‘Defence Force’ is more intent on becoming … International Rescue
    Mind you, Brains did come up with some pretty sweet gadgets, and the Tracey’s had a cool Island.
    As for Ocean Pirates …
    They have all set their Auto-Pilot Nav-Systems to converge in the Southern Ocean sometime … very soon.

  • Shaun

    I remember this when I was at school and we were cheering madly at the beavado of the air force. I was certain Rob Muldoon was in the background at the rime and it appears to be variously reported as 1975 and 76..
    But it sounds like a true Rob action”. Just sink the barstards! They wont come back again!”