Ocean Ranger Memorial prayer service being held

Published on February 15, 2013
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.”