A team of officials of the Mercantile Marine Department and the Fort Kochi Coastal Police on Aug 9 inspected the 'Desh Shakthi' which was suspected to be involved in a mid-sea collision with the fishing boat 'Oceana'. The team reached New Mangalore Port in the morning and the inspection began around noon. Paint samples have been collected from the ship by forensic experts. An examination of the same will only prove whether the ship actually caused the collision. Officials, however, were yet to receive any definitive proof regarding the ship’s involvement in the collision, in which three fishermen were killed and nine went missing. They were also investigating a Liberian-flagged ship that was also present near the accident site. The tanker was brought to the Mangaluru waters on Aug 8 and berthed at Berth 10 of the port on Aug 9. The personnel would check the vessel’s hull and keel to ascertain the alleged collision.The vessel was detained in Mangaluru and would be released only after investigation. Meanwhile, attempts to trace the missing fishermen continued on Aug 9 with the two Coast Guard ships 'Vikram' and 'Aryamal', and the INS 'Sunayna' was leading the search operations. Besides these ships, two helicopters of the Coast Guard and a helicopter of the Navy were also deployed for surveillance. The Marine Enforcement Wing was coordinating a search operation conducted by a team of 20 fishing boats from Munambam. The rescue team was unable to locate the wreckage of the boat as it was lying 70 metres deep. The rough sea conditions have hampered the search operations though searches using trawling nets were under way. The rescue operations will continue for seven days.