Ocean Ranger: 30 years after the oil rig sank

It's been thirty years since the Ocean Ranger oil rig listed and sank, taking the lives of everyone on board. A sister of one of the victims believes it's still unnecessarily dangerous to work on the high seas. We'll take you back to that freezing February night.



Part Two of The Current

Ocean Ranger: 30 years after the oil rig sank

She was a titan among oil rigs -- with a transparent Achilles heel. Of course, it took more than a broken porthole to sink the Ocean Ranger. But it's believed as the Atlantic began to rush in that night thirty years ago, the porthole set off a chain of events that eventually killed 84 men. The enormity of the tragedy still casts a shadow over Newfoundland, three decades later. And the offshore oil industry still takes lives. Three years ago 17 rig workers were killed when a helicopter crashed en route to the Grand Banks oil fields.

Today, two writers take us back to that freezing February night when the province learned something terrible had happened hundreds of kilometres east of St. John's. In Lisa Moore's novel, February, she examines the disaster's emotional toll on one fictional family. Susan Dodd's non-fiction book, The Ocean Ranger: Remaking the Promise of Oil, examines what could have been done to better protect the people who worked on the rig. People like her brother, Jim.

Today we bring you Marie Wadden's documentary, Still Sinking: Remembering the Ocean Ranger disaster. It begins with Lisa Moore reading from her novel ... Then Susan Dodd on that dreadful day February 15th, 1982.

Thanks to writers Lisa Moore and Susan Dodd for telling this story. Still Sinking: Remembering the Ocean Ranger disaster was produced by Marie Wadden, with help from CBC St. John's archivist Christine Davies. Jim Payne wrote and performed the Rig Worker's alphabet song.


Other segments from today's show:

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