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Rescue Divers Find Empty Cabin; Nine Azerbaijani Oil Workers Still Missing

BAKU -- Divers searching for nine Azerbaijani oil workers missing after the partial collapse of a Caspian Sea oil platform have found a cabin used by workers during resting shifts.

But the cabin found on the sea floor was empty, Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR said on December 16.

SOCAR said the cabin was swept into the sea by heavy winds on December 15.

The body of one worker was found later that day, but nine men remain missing.

President Ilham Aliyev signed a resolution on December 16 ordering the Emergencies Ministry, SOCAR, and the Caspian Shipping Company to intensify the search.

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

Oil expert Ilham Saban told RFE/RL on December 15 that the platform affected by the accident has been used for 40 to 50 years and that its age could have been a contributing cause of the accident.

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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