Battle of Seal Cove
The Battle of Seal Cove was a minor naval action west of Lively Island
Lively Island
Lively Island is the largest of the Lively Island Group of the Falkland Islands, The island group lies east of East Falkland. Lively Island is the largest rat-free island in the Falklands, hence its importance to birdlife...

, during the 1982 Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

. On May 22, 1982, while supporting Operation Sutton
Operation Sutton
During the 1982 Falklands War, Operation Sutton was the British landings on the shores of San Carlos Water, at Ajax Bay and Port San Carlos, near the San Carlos on East Falkland. During the night 3 Commando Brigade along with attached units of the Parachute Regiment were landed from the liner SS...

  off San Carlos Bay
San Carlos, Falkland Islands
San Carlos is a settlement in northwestern East Falkland, lying south of Port San Carlos on San Carlos Water. It is sometimes nicknamed "JB" after a former owner, Jack Bonner.-History:...

, the British frigates HMS Brilliant
HMS Brilliant (F90)
HMS Brilliant was a Type 22 frigate of the Royal Navy.She was part of the Task Force that took part in the Falklands War, with Captain John Coward in command...

 and HMS Yarmouth
HMS Yarmouth (F101)
HMS Yarmouth was the first Modified Type 12 frigate of the Rothesay class to enter service with the Royal Navy. From her commissioning in 1960, she performed in numerous roles, including the Third Cod War and the Falklands War....

 received orders to stop and seize the Argentine armed coastal supply boat
Coastal trading vessel
Coastal trading vessels, also known as coasters, are shallow-hulled ships used for trade between locations on the same island or continent. Their shallow hulls mean that they can get through reefs where deeper-hulled sea-going ships usually cannot....

 ARA Monsunen. The coaster Monsunen was actually a small British vessel that had been captured in the course of the Argentine invasion
1982 invasion of the Falkland Islands
On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces mounted amphibious landings of the Falkland Islands . The invasion involved an initial defence force organised by the Falkland Islands' Governor Sir Rex Hunt giving command to Major Mike Norman of the Royal Marines, the landing of Lieutenant-Commander Guillermo...

. The ship was spotted by a RAF Harrier while sailing from Fox Bay
Fox Bay
Fox Bay is the second largest settlement on West Falkland in the Falkland Islands. It is located on a bay of the same name, and is on the south east coast of the island...

 towards Stanley
Stanley, Falkland Islands
Stanley is the capital and only true cityin the Falkland Islands. It is located on the isle of East Falkland, on a north-facing slope in one of the wettest parts of the islands. At the 2006 census, the city had a population of 2,115...

 with a cargo of 150 fuel drums and 250 flour sacks.

The engagement

On the very first hours of May 23, a Sea Lynx identified the Monsunen while the latter was heading to the north, west of Lively Island. After a surrender order was radioed to the motorboat, another helicopter transporting a SBS
Special Boat Service
The Special Boat Service is the special forces unit of the British Royal Navy. Together with the Special Air Service, Special Reconnaissance Regiment and the Special Forces Support Group they form the United Kingdom Special Forces and come under joint control of the same Director Special...

 team tried to intercept her. The aircraft was greeted with heavy machine gun and small arms fire, so it was forced to abort the mission.
At the same time, the coastal ship’s radar detected the British squadron about eight miles to stern and approaching aggressively.

Almost immediately, HMS Yarmouth began to fire her 4.5 inch (114 mm) deck gun on the Argentine vessel, forcing her to manoeuvre in order to avoid the incoming rounds. When the distance fell to 4 miles, Captain Gopcevich, the Argentine commander, decided that the only way to deceive the British radar was to beach the boat on Seal Cove, a large inlet nearby.

Shortly after he succeeded in running aground his ship and ordering the crew to abandon her, the British shelling resumed. The fire was inaccurate and aimed at the general area of landing. In the process of evacuating the vessel, one of the ratings fell overboard and suffered some serious bruises, but he was successfully rescued by a young sailor. The crew members took refuge in an improvised inland shelter.


After effectively losing the track of their small enemy, the British frigates gave up and returned to San Carlos waters.
Monsunen was found by her complement at dawn, with her engine still running, apparently after refloating by the rising tide
Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth....

. However, a sling had become entangled with her propeller, disabling the transmission
Transmission (mechanics)
A machine consists of a power source and a power transmission system, which provides controlled application of the power. Merriam-Webster defines transmission as: an assembly of parts including the speed-changing gears and the propeller shaft by which the power is transmitted from an engine to a...

With the ship's speed now dramatically reduced, Gopcevich radioed for help to Stanley.

A few hours later, another British trawler seized by the Argentines, ARA Forrest, towed the Monsunen to Darwin
Darwin, Falkland Islands
Darwin is a settlement in Lafonia on East Falkland, lying on Choiseul Sound, on the east side of the island's central isthmus, north of Goose Green...

. She was later recovered there by British forces on May 29, after the Battle of Goose Green
Battle of Goose Green
The Battle of Goose Green was an engagement of the Falklands War between British and Argentine forces. Goose Green and its neighbour Darwin are settlements on East Falkland in the Falkland Islands. They lie on Choiseul Sound on the east side of the island's central isthmus...


The much needed cargo was uploaded by ARA Forrest, which made for Stanley. The coaster successfully completed Monsunens relief mission on May 25. The action is thought to be the only naval encounter between armed surface ships in the war. Jorge Gopcevich Canevari was awarded the La Nación Argentina al Valor en Combate cross.
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