CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


It's been 30 years since the Ocean Ranger capsized and sank on the Grand Banks in the early hours of Feb. 15, 1982. All 84 crew members, 56 of them from this province, died.

Poor training, faulty design and inadequate equipment were no match for 30-metre waves and 160-kilometre winds.

Even as the years have passed, the memories are still strong, placing a heavy burden on the families and friends of those lost.

The Ocean Ranger disaster has become part of the fabric of Newfoundland and Labrador's culture. it has been immortalized in books such as Lisa Moore's February and Mike Heffernan's Rig, An Oral History of the Ocean Ranger Disaster, the new play Rig and Ron Hynes's classic song Atlantic Blue.

Gonzaga High School will host a memorial prayer service on the 30th anniversary, as it has done every year since the disaster. A number of former students were killed when the rig sank. The event has become important for the families and friends of those who died, especially since so many of the victims' bodies were never recovered.

Afterwards, a wreath laying ceremony at the Ocean Ranger memorial on Confederation Hill, and a reception for affected families at The Rooms' atrium on Bonaventure Avenue.

News stories from 1982 on the day the Ocean Ranger capsized and sank.
A day of mourning for crew members lost at sea.
The sinking of the Ocean Ranger began with a vicious storm that produced high winds and waves.
Lawyers said the $20-million package negotiated for the families was fair at the time, but sore feelings about the compensation still linger.
A Royal Commission was appointed to investigate why the Ocean Ranger sank, why none of the crew survived, and how similar disasters could be avoided.
A memorial was unveiled at the Confederation Building three years after the Ocean Ranger disaster.