The 84 victims of the Ocean Ranger disaster were remembered Friday — the 31st anniversary of the sinking of the oil rig — at a memorial service at St. Pius X Church in St. John's.
A vicious storm — with 30–metre waves and 160–kilometre winds — toppled the rig. An inquiry into the disaster pointed to poor training, faulty design and inadequate equipment as some of the problems that led to the tragedy.
Every year Gonzaga high school has held a memorial service to keep the memories of those lost alive. Five of the men who died on the rig were graduates of Gonzaga.
Friday's service saw the school's choir sing Atlantic Blue, Ron Hynes' anthem to the Ocean Ranger victims, for those who attended the service.
Susan Dodd spoke on behalf on the Ocean Ranger families.
"I was your age, about grade 11, when my brother Jim was killed that night, along with his 83 Ocean Ranger co-workers," said Dodd.
"Although you weren't born when we lost our men that night, you give us this amazing gift of remembrance," Dodd told the audience.
A candle was lit for each of the 84 men lost on the rig.
Student Alicia Leonard said it's important that the school has kept the flame alive all these years.
"When they read out the names, and you hear Gonzaga student, they were our age, some of them were only 19 or 20. I can't even imagine … as a Gonzaga student it's really important," said Leonard.