H.M.S. Starling was a three-masted composite screw gunboat built in Samuda's Yard at Poplar, on the Thames, and launched on 19th April 1882. Displacing 456 tons, she measured 125 feet in length with a 23½ foot beam, and was armed with 2-64pdr. and 2-20pdr. guns. Sold out of the service in April 1905, she was purchased by J.J. Murphy & P. Templeman who converted her into a tug, renamed her Stella Maris and put her to work at St. John's, Newfoundland where she was registered as a civilian vessel.