PR Lessons From The Ocean Ranger Tragedy


  • Sean Kelly Memorial University of Newfoundland



PR Lessons, Crisis Communications, Principles, Values, Ethics, Compassion, Respect,


This commentary discusses the Ocean Ranger accident that happened on Valentine’s Day in 1982, which created a crisis of significant proportions for the Ocean Drilling Exploration Company (ODECO) which designed and owned the ship and Mobil Oil of Canada which leased the Ocean Ranger to drill for oil in the harsh offshor environment of the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Despite being referred to by many as the “Ocean Danger,” the oil rig was described as unsinkable - a name that nature would prove to be a reckless test of fate. Using personal narrative as the basis for describing the impact of the Ocean Ranger disaster, the author, a seasoned professional communicator discusses how the crisis was communicated as well as what could have been better and more ethically.

©Journal of Professional Communication, all rights reserved.