HMAS Tarakan (L3017)

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HMAS Tarakan in 1948
HMAS Tarakan in 1948
United Kingdom
Name: LST 3017
Builder: R & W. Hawthorn, Leslie & Co Ltd, Hebburn-on-Tyne, England
Laid down: 7 April 1944
Launched: 28 November 1944
Name: LST 3017
Commissioned: 4 July 1946
Decommissioned: 1954
Renamed: 16 December 1948
Motto: "Nothing Daunts"
Fate: Scrapped
General characteristics
Type: Mark III Tank Landing Ship
Displacement: 2,300 tons
Length: 347 ft (106 m)
Beam: 55 ft 3 in (16.84 m)
Draught: 12 ft 6 in (3.81 m)
Speed: 13.5 knots (25.0 km/h; 15.5 mph)
  • 4 × 40mm anti-aircraft guns
  • 16 × 20mm anti-aircraft guns

HMAS Tarakan (L3017) was a Mark III Tank Landing Ship, or LST(3), that served in the Royal Navy (RN) during 1945 and 1946 and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) from 1946 until 1954.


The ship was laid down on 7 April 1944 for the RN by R. and W. Hawthorne, Leslie and Company at Hebburn-on-Tyne in England, launched on 28 November 1944 as LST 3017, and completed at Hendon Dockyard in Sutherland.[1] She was commissioned into the RN on 9 June 1945.[2]

The ship was one of six LSTs loaned to the RAN, commissioning on 4 July 1946. She was named Tarakan on 16 December 1948, and served in Australian and New Guinea waters as a general purpose vessel, but was mainly used for dumping condemned ammunition at sea.[1] On 21 November 1947 nine soldiers were injured during an ammunition dumping operation when a box of fuses exploded while the ship was 20 miles (32 km) off the Sydney Heads.[3]

On 25 January 1950, Tarakan was berthed alongside HMAS Kuttabul naval base at Garden Island in Sydney, making good defects prior to departure for New Guinea, when an explosion occurred aft under the mess decks. The explosion killed seven sailors and one dockyard tradesman, and injured twelve sailors and a second tradesman. The ship was extensively damaged.[1] Tarakan's captain and executive officer were subsequently court martialed for negligence during March 1950, and were found not guilty.[4][5] In April that year the coroner ruled that the explosion was accidental, and most likely caused by an electric arc from a fan in a compartment of the ship which had filled with petrol fumes.[6]

Tarakan never returned to seagoing service following the incident in 1950. She was sold for breaking up on 12 March 1954.[1] The ship caught fire again while she was being scrapped in the Sydney suburb of Balmain during September 1954, but damage was minimal and there were no serious injuries.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d "HMAS Tarakan (I)". Sea Power Centre Australia. Retrieved 31 May 2010. 
  2. ^ "HMS LST 3017 (LST 3017)". Retrieved 26 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b "Men Escape By Seconds In "Hoodoo " Ship Fire". The Sydney Morning Herald (36,428). New South Wales, Australia. 22 September 1954. p. 1. Retrieved 26 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  4. ^ "COURT EXONERATES OFFICER OF H.M.A.S. TARAKAN". The Examiner (Tasmania). CIX, (9). Tasmania, Australia. 22 March 1950. p. 9. Retrieved 26 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  5. ^ "Captain freed on negligence charge". The Age (29,618). Victoria, Australia. 31 March 1950. p. 5. Retrieved 26 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia. 
  6. ^ "Accidental Finding: Tarakan Explosion". The Sydney Morning Herald (35,054). New South Wales, Australia. 27 April 1950. p. 7. Retrieved 26 January 2017 – via National Library of Australia.