On 25 January 1950, the tank landing ship HMAS Tarakan was gutted by fire following an explosion whilst berthed at Garden Island, Sydney. The explosion occurred under the mess decks.
Seven crewmen and one dock worked were killed by the explosion. A further 12 people were injured. The blast effectively jammed all the upper deck hatches, trapping the seriously injured survivors inside the wreckage.
HMAS Tarakan served as a general purpose vessel, operating in both Australian and New Guinea waters. Due to extensive damage, the vessel did not return to active service after the explosion.