Hundreds of people gather today at St. Pius X church in St. John’s for the 30th anniversary memorial service on the sinking of the Ocean Ranger. — Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Premier Kathy Dunderdale today expressed sorrow in recognition of the Ocean Ranger tragedy that occurred off the province’s shores on Feb. 15, 1982.
The drilling rig went down in a fierce storm claiming the lives of its 84-man crew.
“On behalf of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, I express my condolences for the loss of life that occurred in our province on this day 30 years ago,” Dunderdale said. “My thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends who were so profoundly impacted by the loss of their loved ones. I hope they take some comfort in knowing that our entire province mourns with them as we remember that tragic day. The 84 individuals who were lost on our seas on Feb. 15, 1982, will be forever remembered in the history of our province.”
Natural Resources Minister Jerome Kennedy attended the annual memorial service at St. Pius X Church and the commemorative wreath ceremony at the Ocean Ranger Memorial located at the front of Confederation Building.
“The sinking of the Ocean Ranger is an important reminder of the risks inherent in offshore development, and a tragedy which will never be forgotten,” Kennedy said. “Our offshore environment has been impacted forever, with our oil and gas industry committed to a strong safety regime which continues to be built upon and improved in light of such tragedies as the Ocean Ranger. We must remain vigilant to ensure the safety of the men and women who earn their living on the water.”
Liberal Opposition Leader Dwight Ball and the Liberal caucus also marked the anniversary.
“Thirty years ago the province of Newfoundland and Labrador suffered a heartbreaking tragedy,” said Ball. “Today I stand with all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as we remember our lost loved ones.”
Ball noted that it’s important that we learn from the past to ensure that an event like the Ocean Ranger disaster never happens again.
“We must ensure safety for our offshore workers and I call on both the federal and provincial governments to finally implement the recommendations of the Wells Inquiry, including the establishment of an independent offshore safety regulator,” Ball said.