Seven workers who were on board a Saipem-operated pipe-laying vessel when it exploded and caught fire in Azerbaijan’s portion of the Caspian Sea on Wednesday remain in intensive care.

The seven people, who are all Saipem employees, arrived at a hospital in the capital Baku early on Thursday morning following the incident on the Israfil Huseynov pipe-laying barge at around 6:30pm local time the previous day.

They are all suffering from burns as a result of the blast and fire, which was extinguished.

Azerbaijan's Health Ministry added on Friday that three of the seven who remain in intensive care - two Azeri nationals and one Malaysian - remain in a critical condition.

Seven other injured workers, who are also all employees of the Italian services giant, are all set to be repatriated, Saipem said.

The 14 injured are variously from Azerbaijan, Italy, the UK, Romania, Croatia and Malaysia, Saipem said.

Azerbaijan’s General Prosecutor's Office said this week that the accident occurred due to a technical malfunction in the equipment on the production line.

Saipem said in its latest update, released on Thursday evening: “The incident was related to maintenance operations on an item of equipment during pipe-laying activities.”

Saipem also confirmed that the vessel was operating “in the framework of the Shah Deniz 2 project”, which is being led by BP.

The UK supermajor has been contacted for comment. It is understood, however, that the vessel was not under contract to BP at the time of the fire.