Orissa will send a three member expert team on Tuesday, to verify media reports about fresh spillage from a ship that had sunk off the Paradip coast last month, officials said on Monday.
"We have received reports from the media. We are verifying them. A three member team will go there Tuesday to verify the reports. We have also instructed the port authorities to plug the spillage," said DK Behera, senior scientist of the state pollution control board.
Biplab Kumar, deputy chairman of Paradip Port, said: "The media reports of spillage and traces of oil found near Sandhakuda area is in fact far away from Paradip Port area. We have so far not traced any oil spillage near the Paradip coast. However we are looking into the reports and verifying them."
The port authorities have awarded the plugging work to the Visakhapatnam-based J Enterprises and Dives, which specialises in underwater repair and maintenance work. However the plugging work is yet to start due to rough weather during the last couple of days.
"We have already awarded the work to J Enterprises and Dives. Though they have taken up the job from Sep 27, the work has been hit due to rough weather under the impact of deep depression in the Bay of Bengal. They will start the plugging work soon," Kumar said.
Meanwhile, the port authorities have invited a global tender and a technical bid would be opened Monday and would be announced Wednesday.
The vessel under a Mongolian flag ran aground Sep 9 in the harbour area off the port in Jagatsinghpur district, some 100 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, with 924 tonnes of furnace oil and about 25,000 tonnes of iron ore fines.
Twenty-seven crew members were on board. All but a Ukrainian engineer, whose body was found 10 days later, were rescued.
The spot where the ship went down is close to the Gahirmatha marine sanctuary, one of the world's few remaining nesting sites for the endangered Olive Ridley sea turtles. Wildlife bodies have already warned that the spillage will pose a serious danger to the rare turtles.