NGO Coalition: Liability for Loss of Oilmen Lies with SOCAR Chiefs

“The responsibility for the tragic death of 10 oilmen in the Caspian Sea falls on the leadership of SOCAR. This event once again showed that the management of the said structure did not draw conclusions from the tragedy that occurred a year ago, and continues to carry out poor management and lack of professionalism,” the statement of the Increasing Transparency in Extractive Industries NGO Coalition says.

On December 15th the wind blew a part of the SOCAR overpass in the Caspian Sea, including a box with oilmen. They fell into the sea. Ten oil workers went missing. To date, the body of only one of them has been found.

The Coalition requires the issuance of compensation to the families of the victims at public expense, to bring the perpetrators to justice, to take urgent action to improve working conditions and safety of oilmen.

The Coalition, which unites more than 150 NGOs in its ranks, said that over the past year it was the second similar tragedy happened on the overpass belonging to SOCAR in the Caspian Sea.

“On December 5 last year on the 10th platform in the Guneshli field in the Caspian Sea there was a fire that killed 30 people and injured more than 30. Both tragedies were the result of bureaucratic arbitrariness, criminal negligence, lack of professionalism and corruption. From these events that ended with the loss of life it is clear that on the platforms located in the subordination of SOCAR safety regulations are not complied with. Oil workers are not provided with the necessary quality and protective clothing, life jackets and boats. Dates of operation of many platforms have expired for long and they are not suitable for use and unsafe,” the statement said.

The Coalition notes that, despite the criminal case filed by the Prosecutor General's Office under article 162.2 of the Criminal Code (violation of labor safety rules and carelessness, resulting in the death of people), this does not guarantee that the future activities of SOCAR will be more responsible.

 “Because until now SOCAR leadership both at home and abroad perform many inefficient projects, opening the way to numerous facts of corruption. Spending hundreds of millions on these projects, SOCAR has not deigned to repair overpasses and platforms established in the 60's, 70's of last century, though their operational life has been outdated and they are obsolete physically and morally,” the statement said further.

It is a sad fact that SOCAR builds an office in the center of Baku at the cost of 335 million manat, sponsors the European Football Cup, finances foreign football clubs and brings gas to the Armenian churches, but does not create comfortable and safe conditions for workers, does not organize correctly the system of their wages and does not provide their security, the appeal of the NGO coalition said. -03D-

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