The Ayala energy unit tagged as the owner of a barge involved in an oil spill in Iloilo on Friday will face several fines, an environment official said on Sunday.

Undersecretary Benny Antiporda of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) said a notice of violation would be issued to AC Energy for violation of the Clean Water Act or Republic Act (RA) 9275.

“A technical conference will be called to address the oil spill focusing on the cleanup operations,” he said.

The case will be sent to the Pollution Adjudication Board (PAB) for the evaluation of fines, he said.

AC Energy is conducting a cleanup operation in affected marine areas in partnership with third-party Harbor Star Shipping Services. The operations will be supervised by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) following the National Oil Spill Contingency Plan.

The main objective of the cleanup operation is to contain the spill around the barge and to prevent it from reaching the shoreline.

“The Regional Incident Management Team is created to monitor all aspects of the cleanup from the affected community, health impacts, environmental impacts, and waste management,” Antiporda said.

“Sorbents and manual cleanup are recommended but must be strictly monitored so as not to disturb the mangroves in the area which may cause more harm than good,” he added. “Use of dispersant in the mangroves should not be recommended due to adverse effects to the mangroves.”

The PCG will file criminal charges against AC Energy if necessary, officials said.

The explosion of AC Energy’s Barge 102 on Friday forced at least 63 households to be relocated to avoid the toxic fumes circulating the area.

AC Energy released a statement saying that the company and a third-party firm were initiating an investigation to determine the “root cause” of the explosion that ignited the gases inside the sealed tank. RJ Espartinez