The Ocean Ranger Disaster


  • Brent Marsh


Coastal Engineering 8751, Case Study, Civil


Offshore Newfoundland and Labrador lies the Grand Banks; an environment susceptible to the most disastrous of mother natures’ forces. Beneath it, however, lays one of the worlds’ most precious resources: oil. Many companies in the early 1980s were in search of this resource and used Semi-Submersible Drill Rigs as a way to drill for it. The Ocean Ranger was the largest drill rig of its kind in the world and provided many Newfoundlanders with a good source of employment. The Ocean Ranger was designed to withstand the harshest of environments, already proving itself on several occasions, including a treacherous winter on the Grand Banks. On February 14, 1982, however, a ferocious storm hit the Grand Banks, toppling The Ocean Ranger and killing all 84 crew members on board. The blame can be placed on several fatal errors. Fortunately, engineers have been able to evaluate these errors to ensure that this catastrophe never occurs again. This paper looks back on the events, decisions made and critical errors that led to the disaster and highlights the important engineering lessons learned from them.


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Coastal and Ocean Engineering (ENGI.8751)