Powerful images of the Ocean Ranger

Photos bring back sad memories for former Telegram photographer

Steve Bartlett sbartlett@thetelegram.com
Published on February 11, 2012

Dick Green sits at the rear of his Duckworth Street art and antique gallery, thumbing through The Telegram's archival photos of the Ocean Ranger tragedy.

He captured many of those images as a photographer for the paper. They bring him back in time to 1982.

"It's all sad memories because of the loss," he says.

Green shot countless events during his time at what was then The Evening Telegram.

Included were visits by Pope John Paul II, Queen Elizabeth as well as Charles and Diana.

But nothing stands out like the Ocean Ranger.

"You know a lot of the people and it hurts," he says, noting one of the men who died was a neighbour from his hometown of Carbonear.

On the morning the Ocean Ranger sank, he says the Canadian Press called and asked him to go to the airport.

It was the start of a hectic week or week-and-a-half of news conferences and other events.

Green says a lot of media arrived to cover the tragedy. They came from England, the States and all parts of Canada.

A week or so after it happened, he says he flew out to the site.

He had flown out to the rig on a couple of previous occasions and remembers thinking the Ocean Ranger was invincible the first time he saw it.

His thoughts were unfortunately proven wrong.

Green, whose shop is called Pollyanna, admits still being moved by the sinking today.

That's obvious from his reaction to some of the photos.

Seeing a picture he took of a body being taken off a ship, he says he wasn't fussy about shooting it.

"Something like this, I don't know if it serves anything or not."

Looking at someone else's shot of a woman whose anguish is obvious, he remembers the photographer being pushy and that he didn't like the approach.

And holding a photo he took after a mass at the Basilica, he remembers it being a sad occasion.

"A lot of people really get off on this shooting tragedies," Green says. "I didn't."

sbartlett@thetelegram.com Twitter: @SteveBartlett_