Friday, November 16, 2018
MV Forrest

Ever since the early days of the 19th century, the Falkland Islands have always had a shipping service both within the archipelago and also to neighbouring countries such as Uruguay and Chile.

The Fitzroy operated during the years of World War II when she was the only vessel to maintain communications with the islands. Between the years from 1936 until 1967, various vessels were used for cargo and passenger carrying within the Falklands, and from and to Montevideo and Punta Arenas. The SS Perth, used as a rescue ship in the North Sea, renamed the Lafonia, lasted only four years in the Falklands before being re-sold by the Government.

In 1948, a coastal vessel, the MV Philomel, arrived in the colony, and for nearly 20 years she worked around the Falklands carrying cargo. In 1957, delivery was made of a new vessel, the 1,792 ton steamship Darwin, built at a cost of over £250,000. She operated mainly between Stanley and Montevideo carrying large quantities of wool shipments, and was finally withdrawn from service in 1972.

In 1972, the Falklands Islands Government took delivery of the small coaster Monsunen for coastal supply work around the islands. In 1966, the Government decided to replace the Philomel with a more modern vessel capable of carrying larger cargoes. Thus the MV Forrest, built by James W Cook & Co (Wivenhoe) Ltd, Essex, came into being in 1967 for the government of the Falkland Islands.

Her hull form was developed by the shipbuilders to give the best possible sea boat for the very heavy sea conditions experienced around the islands. Her dimensions were 86’ x 22’ x 10’9” on a loaded draught of, and hold capacity of 5,700 cu ft. She was powered by a Kelvin TSM8 8 cylinder four stroke, single-acting diesel propulsion, which also drove two 1680-w 24-v generators. The engine was capable of 320 bhp and had a service speed of 9 knots. The Forrest was named as a tribute to Dr W Forrest McWhan, Minister of the Islands’ Tabernacle (United Free Church) from 1934 to 1965, who earned the affection of the local community.

The Forrest arrived in the Falklands on its own, on November 8th 1968, after a 37-day journey from England. Almost a month later, on 1st December 1968, having been commissioned by the Falkland government, she began her cargo transport service between the most distant settlements of the insular territory, distributing large amounts of fuel, and large numbers of animals on her deck.

0n Friday 2nd April 1982, Argentina invaded and occupied the Falkland Islands in an attempt to establish the sovereignty it had claimed over them. The British government duly responded to the invasion of a territory that had been a Crown colony since 1841. The Forrest was involved in the war both by the British and the Argentine governments. In the years just prior to the invasion of 1982, the Forrest was used by the Royal Marines detachment 8901 to patrol the outer islands, and to provide military training to the settlement volunteers to ensure that no illegal landings took place.

On 3rd March 1982, she was dispatched to keep radar watch over the waters around Port William to the north, and in the early hours, reported sightings of the enemy and a large fleet that was manoeuvring off Cape Pembroke. Early in the conflict, the Forrest was taken over by the Argentine navy under the command of Lieutenant Rafael Gustavo Molini.

When boarded, the British captain, Jack Sollis, showed the Argentine commander the operational aspects of the engine controls; though he declined an offer to remain with the ship,explaining that he wished to remain ashore with his family. On taking over the ship, the Lieutentant Milini’s first act was to change the colour of the ship’s hull profile to a totally black scheme, doing away with the previous white bridge and red funnel.

On returning from one of her supply missions, and being anchored north of Punta Celebrona along with the Coast Guard escort vessel Islas Malvinas, both ships came under fire from a British Sea Lynx helicopter which had been on observation tasks. Return fire was made from the Forrest with her Browning M2 12.7mm machine gun. The Forrest was damaged, not too severely, on the bridge structure; mainly broken windows and with no casualties. The Islas Malvinas took most of the impact with some injuries to her crew members. Both ships returned safely to Puerto Argentina for medical assistance and ship repairs.

During her period under Argentine Command, the Forrest carried out a multitude of tasks, a few of which are listed as follows:-

  • Supply of food and armaments to garrisons of Bourbon Island, Darwin, Goose Green and Puerto Miter
  • Nightly practice for hospital ships ARA Almirante Irizar and ARA Bahia Paraiso
  • Coastal exploration and patrol
  • Transportation of troops
  • Towing of smaller vessels
  • Search and rescue of castaways and corpses.

These missions were carried out with the greatest of courage and skill of the Commander Molini and his crew.

The danger was always there of being detected and attacked by British aircraft. Little could be done in the event of this happening as the ship was only armed with light machine guns. To avoid the danger of being detected, most of the operations were carried out working close in to the coast and only using essential radio and radar. As the British Forces advance continued, and after the re-capture of Darwin and Goose Green, the Forrest was confined to patrol and pilotage tasks in the sea area around Puerto Argentino.

Read the rest of this article with additional pictures in Sea Breezes Magazine - July 2018 Issue
Click here to subscribe

Subscribe Graphic

Latest Issue - Look Inside!


Most Popular

  • Less (K)Notts, More Speed! +

  • Message from the Bridge - November 2018 +

  • Honfleur Hull Sections Craned Into Place +

  • Tragedy in Tanzania +

  • Bells Will Ring Out on 100th Anniversary of War's End +

  • 1
  • 2

Top Ten Books and DVDs of 2018

Latest Products

Maritime Log

  • Clean Air Hero +

    Titus The first in a new class of four large roll-on,rolloff car and truck carriers for Wallenius Wilhelmsen, of Norway, has Read More
  • Wreck of Cook's Endeavour Found? +

    HM Bark Endeavour Replica A team of marine archaeologists believe they may have found the wreck of Captain James Cook’s famous vessel Endeavour which Read More
  • Bells Will Ring Out on 100th Anniversary of War's End +

    Lusitania This month, Remembrance Sunday is also the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War and various events Read More
  • Focus on Historic Photographs of Lifeboats +

    Beken Lifeboat Collection Photographs of lifeboats dating from the turn of the 20th Century are the centrepiece of a new RNLI exhibition that Read More
  • Vehicle Carrier Runs Aground +

    Makassar Highway The vehicle carrier Makassar Highway, 17,735gt, of the Japanese company K Line, ran aground off the Swedish coast on the Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

North America

  • Disabled Bulk Carrier Towed Into Harbour +

    GDF Suez North Sea A 55,848dwt bulk carrier had to be towed into New York harbour after she became disabled while more than 100 Read More
  • Annual Surveys of Titanic Wreck to Start +

    Island Pride A major expedition takes place next summer to explore the wreck of the White Star Line passenger liner Titanic, 46,328grt, Read More
  • USCG Respons as Ports Closed in Hurricane +

    USCG Dilligence Shipping and ports from the states of Virginia south to Georgia were seriously affected in mid-September by Hurricane Florence, which Read More
  • Forest of Giant Cranes and a New Wharf +

    Port of Houston The Port of Houston, in Texas, took delivery of three new neopanamax ship-to-shore cranes on Aug 6 and five rubber-tyred Read More
  • Garbage Patch Clean-up Set to Start +

    garb The first offshore cleaning system was to be installed last month in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch located halfway between Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3


  • Cranes Lift Ferry Superstructure onto Hull +

    Express 4 The Australian shipbuilders Austal has rolled-out a new catamaran ferry for the Danish company Molslinjen at its Henderson shipyard in Read More
  • China is World's Top Shipping Nation +

    China Containers China is the world’s leading international shipping nation, according to a new report presented at a Hamburg trade fair on Read More
  • Automatic Berthing Project Test +

    Shioji Maru The proposed joint demonstration project by four Japanese organisations relating to the safety of vessels’ auto berthing and un-berthing has Read More
  • Record Voyage for Northern Sea Route LNG Cargo +

    Christophe de Margerie A new record for crossing the Northern Sea Route was set up in July by the icebreaking LNG carrier Christophe Read More
  • Antarctic Ship is Re-Chartered +

    Aurora Australis The contract for the icebreaker and research ship Aurora Australis, 6,574gt, to resupply Australia’s Antarctic stations has been extended until Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Naval Focus

  • Sea Trials Recall for Zumwalt-Class Destroyer +

    USS Michael Monsoor American News The Zumult class destroyer USS Michael Monsoor was in dockyard hands at Bath in Maine for the removal Read More
  • HMS Albion Proves Big in Japan +

    HMS Albion British News The assault ship HMS Albion, at time of writing, had just completed a five day visit to Tokyo Read More
  • Royal Navy Commissions New Survey Ship +

    HMS Magpie British News The latest survey vessel to join the Royal Navy was commissioned into service at her homeport of Devonport Read More
  • F-35 Stealth Fighters Land in UK +

    F-35 British News The first four of Britain’s next generation F-35 Lightning supersonic fighter jets touched down in the United Kingdom Read More
  • Upgrade Planned for Russia’s Only Aircraft Carrier +

    Admiral Kuznetsov Russian News Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, will be refitted to prolong the warship’s operational life. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ferry World

  • Seatruck Irish Sea Expansion +

    Seatruck Power Seatruck Pace At this time, when all cross-border ferry operators ex UK must be extremely apprehensive as leaving the EU approaches, Seatruck Read More
  • Tragedy in Tanzania +

    Nyerere A country well used to tragedy, saw another, on Lake Victoria in September. Read More
  • Trouble for "Loch Seaforth" +

    Loch Seaforth Ferry services between Ullapool and Stornoway were disrupted when Caledonian MacBrayne’s Loch Seaforth lost power just over an hour into Read More
  • Stena Adds Extra Freight Capacity to Liverpool Service +

    Stena Forerunner In response to growing market demand, Stena Line has upped freight capacity on the popular Belfast – Liverpool route. Read More
  • Honfleur Hull Sections Craned Into Place +

    Honfleur Brittany Ferries has celebrated the second milestone in the build of its next ship Honfleur with the keeling laying - the Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Sail Review/Coastal Comment

  • The Temps Fête Maritime Festival +

    La Recouvrance During World War II, most of France’s traditional sailing vessels were destroyed and after the war, the emphasis was on Read More
  • Sunderland to Esbjerg Race +

    Oosterschelde On the north east coast of England, it was Sunderland’s proud claim that more ships had been built here than Read More
  • Tall Ships at Liverpool +

    Belem At the end of May, a Tall Ships fleet met at Liverpool. Read More
  • New Bridge Challenges Melissa +

    Melissa The organisers of the charter barges working from Ipswich are worried by plans to build a road bridge across the Read More
  • German Schooners +

    Thor Heyerdahl Two German schooners based at Hamburg are regularly making voyages under sail with general cargoes across the Atlantic. Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

From the Lookout

  • Forty Years of Sailing for Mercy Ships +

    Africa Mercy Over the years, I have been a great admirer of the vital work which Mercy Ships carries out in the Read More
  • World Class Simulator Arrives at Montrose +

    Ethos simulator Coming from the NE of Scotland myself, I have been impressed by how, in recent years, Montrose Port Authority (MPA) Read More
  • New Flying Focus Calendar 2019 +

    Flying Focus 2019 Once again, Flying Focus’ maritime aerial photographer, Herman IJsseling, has taken to the skies to brave the elements of nature Read More
  • Less (K)Notts, More Speed! +

    Sir Keith Speed A recent addition to my book collection is Sea Change, a commentary on the battle for the Falkland Islands and Read More
  • UK P&I Club Launches Interactive Video Series +

    Lessons Learned Video I am always in favour of any steps taken to improve safety of life at sea and I feel that Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Cruise News/Superyacht News

  • Three Year Restoration for Alicia +

    Alicia The Southampton headquartered ship repairer and marine engineering services provider, SMS, has launched the classic 1930’s superyacht Alicia from its Read More
  • Latona - A Family Affair +

    Latona With her wide open-air spaces, CRN’s new superyacht Latona offers an original interpretation of timeless elegance, coupled with Italian style Read More
  • Back to Back Transatlantic on the Queen Mary 2 +

    Queen Mary 2 In the past I have been fortunate in that I have been on a cruise to a number of the Read More
  • Turnkey Explorer Yacht +

    Explorer 67 An exciting opportunity for an owner looking to build one of the finest explorer yacht projects available has presented itself. Read More
  • Great Perseverance +

    Meira Behind the construction of every great yacht there is a story and in the building of Meira, it is one Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3

Ships, Ports and Places

Maltese Maritime Museum

A Visit to Ye Olde Naval Bakery

Malta’s “Maritime Museum” is housed in the former Naval Bakery on the quay of Valletta’s urban ward Birgu. Construction of Read More
Presidente Peron

"Eva Peron"

If someone in 1939 had decided to sit out the Second World War they might well have done so in Read More
  • 1
  • 2

Companies, Events and Other Features

MV Crestbank

A Bank Line Voyage in 1959

The Crestbank was the second of a massive 17 ship order from Harland & Wolff in Belfast commencing with the Read More
USS Liberty

The Attack on the Liberty

You can feel for the captain of USNS “Liberty” Commander William McGonagle, after he was wounded in a sneak Israeli Read More
  • 1
  • 2