Michael remembers Ocean Ranger disaster, calls for action
NDP Leader Lorraine Michael (MHA, Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi) issued this statement today to mark the thirty-second anniversary of the Ocean Ranger disaster. Michael worked with the Ocean Ranger Families Foundation in the aftermath of the February 15, 1982 disaster.
During my time with the Ocean Ranger Families Foundation, every day was an encounter with the devastation of families and their incredible sense of disbelief that the workers had been so badly protected by both their employer and government regulation.
It is 32 years later. We have made nowhere near the progress we should have. Both provincial and federal governments must assume some of the responsibility for that.
In 2010, the Wells review into offshore helicopter safety recommended the creation of a new powerful independent offshore safety authority. This has not happened, despite oil finds as far as 500 miles from shore.
Relatively recent finds which would mean drilling in extremely deep water make it even more urgent that we have stronger oversight over our offshore oil industries. The potential for a disastrous spill with long-term effects on our fragile ocean ecosystem rises with every new find, and we must be prepared to protect both our environment and our workers.
Other countries with offshore oil industries have long adopted the practice of independent offshore safety authorities as the best way to ensure the safety of both workers and the environment.
The people of this province have paid a terrible price for the oil wealth we enjoy today. It is our duty to ensure the safety of the men and women who work offshore.