Spillage of oil from a ship at the Gopalpur port in Orissa has threatened the nesting site of Olive Ridleys near the Rushikulya rookery.

The authorities of the Gopalpur Ports Limited (GPL), Forest Department, and environmental activists are making efforts to reduce the impact of the spill on the coast.

Executive Director of the Gopalpur Ports Limited (GPL), P.K. Panigrahi said the spill occurred on Monday evening.

A barge lost control due to rough weather and hit the Indonesian ship MV Malavika anchored near the port. A storage chamber on its side cracked and oil started to spill out. The engineers immediately made efforts to transfer the oil from the damaged unit to restrict spillage. But by that time around 7,000 litres had poured into the sea. The engineers say this oil may be the ship's furnace oil or waste oil of its engine.

The spilt oil has started to reach the coast near the rookery blackening the sand. But it is yet to reach the stretch where the Olive Ridleys had nested. The Berhampur Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), A.K. Jena said the nests are not yet affected.

The Olive Ridley eggs are to hatch in another fortnight.

The toxic effect of the spill may lead to increased mortality of the turtle hatchlings this year, environmental activist Rabindra Sahu said.