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Barge spills oil in Iloilo; owner faces penalty

The Environment department will fine the owner of a barge that spilled oil in Iloilo on Friday, Undersecretary Benny Antiporda said Sunday.

He said the department will notify the Ayala-controlled AC Energy Inc. over its violation of Republic Act 9275 or the Clean Water Act.

“Notice of violation based on RA 9275 will be issued. A technical conference will be called to address the oil spill focusing on the cleanup operations,” Antiporda said.

He made the statement even as AC Energy said it had taken steps to ease the impact of the oil spill in Barrio Obrero in Lapaz, Iloilo City, that had affected an initial 63 households.

AC Energy said Power Barge 102 (PB102) in Iloilo City had an “unfortunate accident" around 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon, which led to the oil spill.

“As of this time, we are conducting an investigation of the incident and a reputable third-party firm will be engaged to conduct a thorough investigation,” AC Energy said.

Antiporda said the case would be forwarded to the Pollution Adjudication Board for the assessment of the fines that AC Energy will have to pay.

He says AC Energy is conducting a cleanup operation in the affected areas with the help of a third party, Harbor Star Shipping Services, and with the supervision of the Philippine Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard said it will file criminal charges against AC Energy if warranted.

AC Energy said an initial 63 households were displaced by the fumes carried to the area by the winds, and were quickly brought to an elementary school nearby.

“We have established a team to closely coordinate with the barangay for the needs assessment of the affected people so we can provide the needed support,” the company said.

It said it immediately undertook containment procedures after the accident, but high ocean waves in the afternoon caused some of the oil to spill out of the confinement area. 

The containment stage was completed Friday night through the use of multilayered spill booms from PB 102, and additional layers from the Philippine Coast Guard and Petron Corp.

Topics: Department of Environment and Natural Resources , oil spill. Philippine Coast Guard , AC Energy , Benny Antiporda
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