A team of experts on Tuesday found oil patches along the coast of Orissa's Paradip port and suspected it could have leaked from a ship that sank near the harbour Sep 9.
"We found oil patches three kilometers away from the port. Probably it had come from the ship," DK Behera, a state pollution control board scientist who inspected the area, told IANS.
He said samples have been collected to ascertain the quantity of oil spill and if it would lead to major pollution.
Behera's findings come hours after the Paradip Port Trust authorities denied any major spill of oil from the capsized vessel.
The vessel under a Mongolian flag ran aground with 924 tonnes of furnace oil and about 25,000 tonnes of iron ore fines. A total of 27 crew members was on board the ship. All but an Ukrainian engineer, whose body was found 10 days later, were rescued.
The port trust earlier in the day said the spill was from the service tank of the engine room and was negligible. It does not pose any threat to ecology.
"Out of the 924 metric tonnes of oil, 900 metric tonnes are inside a double bottom tank fully secured and are very safe and cannot be released easily," the port trust said in a statement.
A section of the media Monday said the ship had spilled oil and a thick film of black crude oil was visible on the sea near Paradip. Dead fish lie scattered on the shore.
Behera, however, said the team did not find any dead fish or marine animals due to the reported oil slick.