On 2 December 1943 multiple squadrons of German bombers conducted a destructive air assault on Bari Harbour in Italy. Twenty-eight Allied ships were sunk in the raid with contents of mustard gas in one of their hulls. The moment the gas spread, the harbour became a poisonous inferno. One of the ships sunk in the raid was the Fort Athabaska. The contents of the ship whilst it was stationed at Bari is unknown, but some records suggest medical/oil/ammunition supplies. The fate of the ship was sealed when multiple bombs penetrated the decks of the ship, leaving holes in the hull that could simply not be repaired. The order to abandon ship was given and the ship quickly submerged.