A platform blaze in the Azerbaijan area of the Caspian Sea has now reportedly claimed eight lives.
According to Radio Free Europe, eight people were confirmed dead on Monday after a severe storm ruptured a natural gas pipeline, causing a portion of a SOCAR operated platform in the Guneshli oil field to collapse on Saturday.
Balamirza Agharahimov, chief engineer at SOCAR’s Azneft company, told reporters on Monday that the bodies of six missing workers were recovered from the water about 15 miles from the platform, AZERTAC said.
Two of the recovered bodies have been identified and the others have been sent to a forensic lab, Agharahimov added.
Twenty three other workers remain missing and 32 workers were rescued over the weekend, Radio Free Europe said.
State-owned SOCAR has asked governments whose states also border the Caspian Sea to aid in the search for survivors and casualties.
Emergency crews were still trying to extinguish the blaze as of Monday.
Severe storm conditions have hampered rescue efforts and caused one lifeboat carrying workers to break free from its fastenings and fall into the water, the Wall Street Journal said.
“The speed of the wind and the height of the waves were so huge that people who fell into the sea were likely taken far away,” SOCAR Vice President Khalik Mammadov told Radio Free Europe.
SOCAR has suspended oil production at the 28 wells linked to the platform and stopped flows through the facility’s oil and gas pipelines as a precautionary measure, Reuters said.
The platform, known as platform 10, produces about 6,000 barrels of oil per day and serves as a hub for other SOCAR oil fields, the Wall Street Journal said.
BP, a major field operator in Azerbaijan, said that operations at its Caspian Sea platforms have not been affected by the blaze, the paper added.