HMS Tiger Bay

HMS Tiger Bay was a Z-28-class patrol boat operated by the British Royal Navy, previously the Argentine Coast Guard vessel PNA Islas Malvinas (GC-82), which was seized at Port Stanley by the crew of HMS Cardiff on 14 June 1982 following the Argentine surrender during the Falklands War.

HMS Tiger Bay alongside HMS Fearless at Portsmouth, 1985
Name: PNA Islas Malvinas
Operator: Prefectura Naval Argentina
Builder: Blohm + Voss, Hamburg, Germany
In service: 1978
Identification: GC-82
Fate: Seized, 14 June 1982
United Kingdom
Name: HMS Tiger Bay
Namesake: Tiger Bay
Acquired: 14 June 1982
Fate: Sold, 1986
General characteristics [1]
Class and type: Z-28-class patrol boat
Displacement: 65 long tons (66 t)
Length: 27.6 m (90 ft 7 in)
Beam: 5.3 m (17 ft 5 in)
Draught: 1.65 m (5 ft 5 in)
Depth: 3.3 m (10 ft 10 in)
Speed: 28 knots (52 km/h; 32 mph)
Range: 1,200 nmi (2,200 km; 1,400 mi) at 12 knots (22 km/h; 14 mph)
Complement: 15

Operational history

Islas Malvinas was one of 20 vessels of the class built for Argentina by Blohm + Voss of Hamburg, Germany, all of which entered service in 1978.

Following the invasion of the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982, Islas Malvinas and her sister ship Rio Iguazú, sailed from Puerto Nuevo, Buenos Aires, on 6 April, with stops to take on fuel and supplies at Puerto Madryn and Puerto Deseado. The two ships then sailed the 700 kilometres (380 nmi) to Port Stanley, arriving on 13 April. The next day they were repainted from white to brown and green camouflage colours.[2]

Islas Malvinas was employed in various tasks, including reconnaissance patrols, radar sweeps, search and rescue missions, and piloting vessels entering Stanley Harbour. She also acted as an escort to supply ships sailing to remote military outposts. On 30 April she developed a fault on one propeller shaft, which cut her speed by half, but continued to operate.[2]

On 1 May, while escorting the supply ship ARA Forrest off Kidney Island, she engaged a British Lynx HAS.2 helicopter from the frigate HMS Alacrity. One crewman, Corporal Antonio Grigolato, was wounded by shrapnel before the helicopter retired, having been damaged by machine gun fire from Forrest,[2] receiving hits in the engine, fuselage, fuel tank, tail rotor and cockpit.[3]

On 14 June, following the cessation of hostilities, she was manned by five men from HMS Cardiff, and operated as HMS Tiger Bay, named after the Tiger Bay area of Cardiff.[4]

She originally had a tripod mast which she lost whilst transporting wounded to hospital ship Uganda in moderate swells. Uganda's bottom rose up and sat on top of the upper-structure crushing down the mast. The mast was not replaced. She acted as a courier for those ashore by ferrying from supply ships at anchor essential needs to landborne service men stationed at various parts of the islands. The RN crew had not been long on board when they found that the departing Argentine crew had left a welcoming present, mainly in the aft deck ammunition locker, booby-trapped with explosives. Information came to hand that the Argentine engineer had organised this before he was taken off the vessel. He was, much to his dislike, obtained and brought back to the vessel to disarm the bomb.

Even though hostilities had ended, Tiger Bay and her RN crew came under fire on a few occasions whilst underway around the Falklands, from Argentines (who had yet to be rounded-up) and by overzealous British soldiers who were not aware that she was now manned by British naval personnel. She was eventually transported to HMNB Portsmouth, and was eventually sold in June 1986.[2]


A name board from Islas Malvinas, which had been presented to Royal Marine Colonel Ian Baxter, was sold at auction in 2009 for more than £5,000, ten times its estimated value.[5]


  1. "Guardacostas Clase Z-28". (in Spanish). 2011. Archived from the original on 8 June 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  2. Agostini, Mariano (2013). "Lanchas patrulleras argentinas: GC-82 "Islas Malvinas" y GC-83 "Rio Iguazú" en la Guerra de las Malvinas (1982) ("Argentine patrol boats: GC-82 "Islas Malvinas" and GC-83 "Rio Iguazu" in the Falklands War (1982)")". (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  3. "Alacrity in action: May 1982". 2008. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  4. "They have a tiger by the tail..." Navy News p.18. July 1982.
  5. "Falklands' war trophy auctioned for ten times its value". MercoPress. 29 January 2009. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
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