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Oil Platform Collapse Leaves One Dead, Nine Missing In Caspian Sea

  • RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service

An oil platform in the Caspian Sea, east of Baku (file photo)

An oil platform in the Caspian Sea, east of Baku (file photo)

BAKU -- Azerbaijan's state oil company, SOCAR, says one oil worker has died and nine others are missing after part of an offshore platform fell into the Caspian Sea early on December 15.

SOCAR officials said heavy winds caused the accident, in which a cabin for resting workers fell into the water.

Rescue teams of the Ministry of Emergencies were searching for the missing men.

Mirvari Qahramanli, the director of the Committee to Protect Oil Workers Rights, told RFE/RL that there were three other accidents at the same station in 2014 that killed a total of five people.

Oil expert Ilham Saban told RFE/RL that that platform and two other platforms in the area are very old, which may be the reason for the accidents.

"It is possible that these platforms have exceeded the period in which they are safe, especially since they have been around and used for the last 40 to 50 years," Saban said.

SOCAR faced criticism over safety practices after more than 30 oil workers died in a fire on an offshore oil platform in the Caspian Sea in December 2015.

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