Abstract An oil spill occurred off Goa, west coast of India, on 23 March 2005 due to collision of two vessels. In general, fair weather with weak winds prevails along the west coast of India during March. In that case, the spill would have moved slowly and reached the coast. However, in 2005 when this event occurred, relatively stronger winds prevailed, and these winds forced the spill to move away from the coast. The spill trajectory was dominated by winds rather than currents. The MIKE21 Spill Analysis model was used to simulate the spill trajectory. The observed spill trajectory and the slick area were in agreement with the model simulations. The present study illustrates the importance of having pre-validated trajectories of spill scenarios for selecting eco-sensitive regions for preparedness and planning suitable response strategies whenever spill episodes occur.