The Ocean Ranger
The Ocean Ranger was an offshore exploration oil drilling platform that sank in Canadian waters 315 kilometres southeast from St. John's Newfoundland, on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland on February 15, 1982, with 84 crewmembers onboard. The Ocean Ranger was the largest semi-submersible, offshore exploration, oil drilling platform of the day. Built in 1976 by Japan's Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, it operated off the coasts of Alaska, New Jersey, Ireland, and in November 1980 moved to the Grand Banks. Since it was so big it was considered to have the ability to drill in areas too dangerous for other rigs. The government thought it was unsinkable, so they felt that there was no need to train a crew very well.
The disaster that took place on the Ocean Ranger had a very large effect on the way Newfoundlander's feel about the gas and oil industry. The government examined the safety issues that led to this disaster and has implemented numerous changes to enhance the safety of the offshore workforce. The Newfoundland and Canadian government set up a combined royal commission to investigate the disaster of the Ocean Ranger and to provide recommendations to improve safety. Two years after the disaster, the royal commission on the Ocean Ranger disaster concluded that the deaths resulted not only from the storm and flaws in the rig's design, but also from a lack of human knowledge. Experts say the many deaths could have been prevented with better safety training and better safety precautions. Since then new and old rules have been enforced. During the late 1980's the federal and provincial governments installed boards to regulate offshore oil and gas. These boards required anyone visiting the rigs to have minimum safety training. Over the past twenty years, survival systems have improved greatly in off shore drilling. Some of the new technologies that were introduced are cold-water survival suits and improved methods of lifeboat deployment. For more...
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