PALMETTO, Fla. (WFLA) — 8 On Your Side continues to push for answers about an oil spill that occurred last week at Port Manatee.

On Friday, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat Key) toured the area, and said he plans to make sure the government figures out who’s responsible.

“At this time there’s no smoking gun, no obvious culprit,” U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Michael Kahle said.

Without any answers, the Coast Guard is investigating how thousands of gallons of oil got into the water at Port Manatee.

“Got on scene [and] saw it looked like there was a heavy oil material in court,” Capt. Kahle said. “Fortunately, weather was on our side and it pushed the material and kept it contained within the walls of the port.”

So far, he said 97% of the material has been removed from the surface of the water.

Capt. Kahle said the challenging task ahead is figuring out where it came from, so they can prevent it from happening again.

Samples were taken from at least three vessels and two pipeline companies for analysis in an attempt to find a match to the spilled oil.

“We collected samples from the water and sent it off to a lab,” he said. “We’re going to do almost a DNA match, so if there are any that match we can trace it back to the source.”

“Very disappointing to me that someone I think would know if they spilt 5,000-6,000 of gallons worth of materials and not report it,” Buchanan said. “We’re going to be very very tough in terms of the investigation and doing everything we can in holding them accountable with ideally a substantial penalty of some type.”

It’s still unclear what the oil is made from, but the Coast Guard said the substance is believed to be a heavy fuel oil, created during the refinement of crude oil.

“We haven’t gotten the analysis yet, so we can’t determine what kind of petroleum product it is,” Capt. Kahle said. “It may be a mix of several different products, but I would describe it as a heavy petroleum mix.”

Fisheries Biologist and Marine Ecologist Dr. Steven Murawski, who is a research professor at the University of South Florida, told 8 On Your Side, heavy fuel oil can be problematic.

“These toxic compounds tend to be concentrated in [heavy fuel oil], so that’s what makes it problematic,” he said. “A lot of the bad things in crude oil tend to be concentrated in [heavy fuel oil].”

“That’s why it’s a problem in the marine environment,” he continued.

When asked why it was important to test the oil, Murawski said: “We need to know what’s in it so we can look for whatever effects might actually may be accruing from the oil spill.”

Buchanan said someone should be held accountable.

“If it happened in the port here and I think it did, we’ve got to find a way to figure out who did it [and] why they did it,” he said. “If they didn’t know they did it, that’s a big problem.”

“If they did know they did it, they’ve got a lot at risk right now in my mind,” he continued.

So who picks up the tab in a case like this? The Coast Guard said a special fund covers the costs of the cleanup, but the culprit will have to pay for it, once they find out who is responsible.

“That fund would ideally be replaced and any kind of penalty above that, there’s civil fines and different things, I have to look into that,” Buchanan said. “But we first want to figure out who did it.”

“There will be potential civil penalties against the person who is responsible for the discharge and then they will be required to repay the cost of the cleanup efforts,” Capt. Kahle added. “Right now, we’re using what’s called the ‘Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund’ which is funds set aside just for this reason: when you don’t have an immediate responsible party, (someone that is claiming to be responsible for the spill), we use those funds to make sure the cleanup is done swiftly not delayed by lack of funding.”

“If we find out responsible party, they will be responsible for recouping all of those funds,” he continued.