Ocean Ranger Memorial prayer service being held

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People gather this morning at St. Pius X Church in St. John’s for a memorial service marking the 31st anniversary of the Ocean Ranger tragedy. — Photo by Gary Hebbard/The Telegram

Gonzaga High School is holding its annual Ocean Ranger Memorial prayer service this morning to mark the 31st anniversary of the Ocean Ranger tragedy.

The service is being held at St. Pius X Church.

The Ocean Ranger offshore oil rig disaster claimed the lives of the 84-man crew in a vicious storm in the North Atlantic in 1982.

The provincial government also today recognized the anniversary of the sinking of the Ocean Ranger that occurred on the province’s Grand Banks on Feb. 15, 1982.

“It is with heavy hearts that we remember the sinking of the Ocean Ranger and the loss of life which had a profound impact on the people of our province,” said Premier Kathy Dunderdale. “As we reflect on this day in our province’s history and the tragedy which occurred off our shores over 30 years ago, let us remember the 84 lives lost and the memories they left behind.”

Natural Resources Minister Tom Marshall said the date is forever engraved in the province’s history and has had a significant impact on health and safety regulations in the offshore.

“The sinking of the Ocean Ranger serves as a reminder that the safety and well-being of workers in our offshore should always be at the forefront,” he said. “May we never forget the lives lost, the families left behind and the importance of strong safety practices in our offshore.”

The Liberal Opposition also paid tribute to the victims and is remembering the families who lost loved ones 31 years ago today during the tragic sinking of the Ocean Ranger.

“The loss of the Ocean Ranger and all souls aboard was devastating for the province, and even 31 years later the lessons learned from that tragedy resonate today with those working in the offshore oil and gas industry,” said Opposition Leader Dwight Ball. “It’s important that every year we commemorate the anniversary and pay tribute in memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice,”

Families throughout the province suffered a great loss, when all 84 people aboard the Ocean Ranger died in the tragedy. Ball commented that the lessons of the past have played a vital role in ensuring that an event like the Ocean Ranger disaster will never be repeated in our offshore.

“For the hundreds of people who make their living offshore, their daily safety is more valuable than the financial benefits of the industry,” said Ball. “I encourage all levels of government and industry to take every action necessary to ensure that every offshore worker returns home to their family safely. We must not sacrifice lives in the name of progress.”


Organizations: Gonzaga High School, Pius X Church

Geographic location: North Atlantic

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Recent comments

  • David Russelll
    February 15, 2013 - 23:08

    Sir: After thirty three years in the industry and in safety and having gotten off the Ranger two days before the disaster, it is very disturbing knowing that there are people still walking around with the attitude and feelings as expressed here. The memorial itself and the yearly services to the family is a reminder of the supreme sacrifice their loved ones made so that the few still involved in the industry can work safer. Safety is written with the blood of workers who have paid the ultimate price with thier lives. These lost workers have ownership of every barrel of oil from the offshore development. I could say more but my deepest sympathy to people who think like this as this is an example where ignorance will probably be everlasting.

    • Michele Richburg
      February 18, 2015 - 20:31

      Thank you Mr. Russell. My father and uncle both died on the Ocean Ranger. They and all the 84 men paid the ultimate sacrifice. I agree with you totally. Thank you, Michele

  • Patsy
    February 15, 2013 - 22:34

    Well...my initial thoughts about you were correct...you are a heartless moron! Why do you think people write comments? It's usually to offer some insightful comment or idea! Clearly, you possess neither! Continue to write your full name so I don't read your nonsense!

  • Corporate Psycho
    February 15, 2013 - 18:54

    It's to bad offshore safety still isn't taken seriously.

  • Maureen O' Brien
    February 15, 2013 - 16:21

    31 years mean nothing to the memories off those left behind. We can still remember the storm and that terrible morning after. It was a day that brought the province to a standstill. Lives were lost and lives were shattered. Thank you to those who remember and honour these men and this day.

  • Donny Dooley
    February 15, 2013 - 14:25

    Blah blah blah, Listen, this isn't a funeral home webpage this is a news site and a very good one at that. If you don't like the story or the comments don't read 'em. Some people b'y.

  • Patsy
    February 15, 2013 - 13:36

    Donny, I can only surmise by your comment that you have never lost a loved one. The families of those brave souls 31 years ago have paid a huge price. The lose of a family member! I lost my brother when he was 16 years old due to an unknown virus, and I can tell you that every October 3rd, (every single day, in fact) my family remembers him. Everyone has their own way of dealing with their lose. This is a huge part of our history, and we, as a province, ought to teach our young people about this tragedy and the benefit it has had on the offshore oil industry today. Hopefully the memorial held today will give comfort to all the people who lost a loved one on the Ocean Ranger. "Do onto others as you wish others do to you." Next time, take a moment to think before you post a comment where others can be adversely affected by your ignorance!

  • Donny Dooley
    February 15, 2013 - 10:12

    It's time to give this memorial service a break. It's been over 3 decades....get over it already!

    • David
      February 15, 2013 - 12:18

      Why the telegram insists on posting ridiculous comments from people like Donny Dooley is the reason I don't subscribe and cancelled my subscription several years ago. Congrats, I promise you just lost a few subscriptions by publishing this moronic viewpoint.