A total of 62 people were reportedly working onboard of the platform at the Gunashli oil field before the accident which took place on 04 December on 10th sea platform of "Gunashli" offshore field.

One of the workers was confirmed dead and 32 were rescued so far. Agence France-Presse cited a ministry statement: "The bodies of six oil workers were found Monday 65-70km (40 miles) from the oil platform."

Socar said that a helicopter search would continue at the Guneshli oil rig.

The fire was triggered by a storm which resulted in collapse in some of the production equipment of the platform, damaging an underwater high-pressure gas pipeline.

Socar said in statement: "In the evening incessant wind strengthened even further in the same direction, and the waves reached a height of 9-10 meters.

"At about 17:40, giant waves broke the standpipe of the subsea gas line which operates at pressure of 110 atm at the offshore platform No.10 of Gunashli field of State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic , thus damaged the pipeline and sever fire occurred as a result.

Socar suspended oil production on 28 oil wells which are connected to the facility and also closed all pipelines that link the platform with the land as a safety precaution.

The company also added that the fire still continues because of the remaining gas in the technological systems and pipe.

The statement added: "The fire in the platform is assumed to pass to the oil and gas wells too." Rescue work is still going on to locate the missing workers who fell into the sea from the first lifeboat.

Around 60% of the company’s oil production passes through the affected platform.

A criminal investigation has also been launched by Azerbaijan Prosecutor General into the possible violation of fire safety rules.

Commissioned in 1984, the platform has a capacity to produce 920t of oil and 1.08 million cubic meters of gas per day.

Located 120km east of Baku, Azerbaijan, 12km south-east of Oil Rocks, the Gunashli offshore oil field is estimated to have more than 100 million tons of oil reserves.