One worker killed, 30 more missing after fire on Azerbaijan oil rig

Updated: 2015-12-06 06:05


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BAKU-- Authorities in Azerbaijan on Saturday confirmed that one worker was killed and 30 others were missing after a fire swept through an oil rig of Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea.

In accordance with a joint statement issued by the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Office of Public Prosecutor, the oil rig at the Guneshli oilfield is owned by Azerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR.

Rescue efforts are underway to find those still missing in the fire that began Friday evening after a gas pipeline on the platform was damaged in heavy wind.

Two firefighting vessels, helicopters and a diving vessel were involved in the rescue operation, which was initially hampered by a severe storm. One of the boats with dozen of people capsized after the ropes holding it broke off in a strong 10-meter-high wave, according to the statement.

SOCAR on Saturday published the list of those rescued and missing in the accident at the company's platform No.10 at Guneshli oilfield. It did not give details, including the exact number of people working on the platform when the fire broke out.

The company declined repeated requests for comment from media.

A criminal investigation has been launched into the accident.

President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on Dec. 5 to set up a state commission, with the country's Prime Minister Artur Rasizade in charge. The newly established organization is tasked with speeding up the rescue work, coordinating relevant state organizations' activities and overseeing investigation of the cause of the accident.

SOCAR is a wholly state-owned national oil company headquartered in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku. In addition to oil and natural gas production, the company also operates two oil refineries, one gas processing plant and several export oil and gas pipelines.