Headline changed, Details added (first version posted on 13:31)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 6
By Maksim Tsurkov - Trend:
Azerbaijan's state oil company SOCAR is continuing the searches for the missing oil workers jointly with the Emergencies Ministry, said the company's first vice-president, Khoshbakht Yusifzadeh, addressing a press conference Dec. 6.
He said SOCAR concentrated all the efforts on the search of those missing and fire-fighting.
"There were a total of 63 people on the platform," said Yusifzadeh. "Currently, 29 people are considered missing."
He added that helicopters and a number of vessels are involved in the searches.
SOCAR's vice-president also said the strong wind, lasting for 27 hours at a speed of 38 to 40 meters per second, and the waves of 8 to 10 meters of height are preliminarily named the accident's causes.
"A high pressure gas pipeline couldn't endure the waves, and was damaged and a fire broke out," he said.
Yusifzadeh noted that electricity supply to the platform has been stopped.
"The company's employees, according to safety rules, got into life boats," he said, noting that 26 people got into one boat, and 34 got into another.
However, as he said, the life boats were not lowered due to high waves.
"Due to the strong wind, rescuers weren't able to approach the platform. At night, a rope securing a boat broke off and it [the boat] fell into the sea," he added.
Yusifzadeh added that the boat broke after hitting piles of the platform.
"They [people in the boat] fell into the sea. The oil workers were wearing lifejackets. In such circumstances, it was impossible to see them," he noted.
SOCAR's official also said that 26 people in another boat were rescued and taken to hospital.
He added that currently the main task is to extinguish fire and find the missing people.
"Helicopters and ships are involved for this. Works are underway," he added.
Yusifzadeh also said the fire on the platform spread to an oil well.
"The fire on it [the well] is expected to be extinguished before the end of the day," said the SOCAR official.
The Gunashli 10 platform was put into operation in 1984. It serves 28 wells - 24 oil and gas 4 wells.
It daily produces one million cubic meters of gas and 920 tons of oil.