Remains Recovered from Gunashli and Thorco Cloud Incidents
Additional remains have been recovered from two recent maritime incidents: one body of a missing worker from the Gunashli platform fire, and three identified as crew from the sinking of the Thorco Cloud.
Earlier reports of the Cloud recovery were confirmed Sunday as two more bodies were formally identified, in addition to the one identification announced in late December.
The Antigua-flagged freighter Thorco Cloud went down following a collision December 16 with the chemical tanker Stolt Commitment in the Singapore Strait, six nm north of Batam. The two vessels were on crossing courses after both entered the Strait's traffic separation scheme, and the Commitment allegedly struck the Cloud amidships, holing her below the waterline. Imaging of the Cloud's wreck shows that the vessel separated into two pieces. The 40,000 dwt Stolt Commitment sustained only minor damage.
The search for the other missing crew from the Cloud continues.
In the Caspian Sea, the recovery of an additional body brings the total of confirmed dead to nine, with 21 still missing. The remains were found in the Turkmenistan sector of the sea, some 35 nm off the coast, by the search vessel Kursor. The Turkmen platfom support vessel Topaz Legend was called to return the body to the port of Kiyanly.
The Ministry of Emergency Situations said that the clothes on the body bore the inscription “Azneft,” an upstream business unit of SOCAR, the state oil company operating the platform.
The fire on the offshore installation continues to burn, one month after a storm ruptured a gas pipeline and started a raging fire on Platform #10 of the Gunashli field. SOCAR has shut down all pipelines and production at the platform, which is a key transfer node.
Many rigs in the area are of modern design, but Platform #10 is a holdover from the Soviet era.
Azerbaijani emergency response authorities recently released updated imagery and video of continuing response efforts on Platform #10. Salvage crews have been landed on the platform's decks to fight the fire.