In 1966 the Government of the Falkland Islands decided to replace the Philomel vessel that served in this territory and commissioned the James W. Cook and Co. shipyard in Essex to build a ship fully equipped with the infrastructure needed to sail the waters of the South Atlantic surrounding the archipelago. In May 1967, the FORREST was launched to sea, her name being homage from the islanders to Dr. W. Forrest Mc Wahn, Minister of the United Free Church for these islands, who served from 1934 to 1965 earning the affection of the local community.
The FORREST had a cost of approximately 600,000 sterling pounds, and is 26.21 metres in length, with a 6.7 metre beam and a depth of 3.27 metres. She initially had a Gross Registered Tonnage of 144 tons, and was equipped with an 8-cylinder Kelvin engine which is still in service today.
She first set anchor in the Falkland Islands on the 8th November 1968 after a 37-day voyage from England. After being put into service on the 1st of December of the same year, until 1997 she carried most of the cargo between the various populated points of the islands, distributing large amounts of fuel to the different ranches and carrying large numbers of animals on her deck. On several occasions, usually once a year, she sailed to the city of Punta Arenas to undergo maintenance and transport goods towards the Islands.
In 1999 she was purchased by Patagonian company Marítima Transaustral Ltda. for coastal shipping activities in the Region of Magallanes. Later on, in the year 2003, she was moved up to the shipyard to undergo her transformation into a cruise ship to be used for tourist excursions in the fjords and canals of the Chilean Patagonia. On the 1st October 2007, after a full reformation of her accommodation facilities, decks, engine room and other areas, she was set to sea again, fully refurbished and equipped with first-class facilities for expedition cruises.
With her 40 years of existence and regular yearly maintenance, the FORREST boasts an excellent conservation state in her entire structure. In a recent refurbishment, she was installed with all the electronic and security technology currently required by the Port Authorities.