Search for missing fishermen off Newhaven in Sussex called off

Video report from ITV News Meridian's James Dunham

The search for two fishermen, who went missing after a fishing boat sank off the coast of East Sussex, has been called off this evening.

The 45ft scalloping boat, named the Joanna C, put out an emergency distress beacon on Saturday at around 6am with two RNLI lifeboats and a helicopter joining the search.

One man was pulled from the water after he was found clinging to a lifebuoy on Saturday morning and the search for the other two crew was called off Ended at 11pm.

The search resumed at first light on Sunday, with part of the operation focussed 12 miles along the coast at Beachy Head but nothing was found

A statement from HM Coastguard said,

"HM Coastguard confirmed that the search which resumed at 7.30am Sunday morning, has now finished at 2.30pm.

"Units helping with the search today included Newhaven and Eastbourne RNLI lifeboats and Eastbourne and Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Teams as well as local fishing vessels. 

"Sadly nothing further has been found today."

Flowers have been laid and candles lit in Brixham Credit: ITV News

In the Devon fishing town of Brixham where the boat, the Joanna C, was registered, the community has been laying flowers and lighting candles.

This picture is of Joanna C after work to rebuild it had been completed in September 2019.

Joanna C had been rebuilt in 2019 Credit: Martin Johns / Fishing News

Local skipper Alan Scales says he is 'shocked',

"The owner has done very extensive work on maintaining it and improving it for the crew to make it a very safe vessel. It's a real shock."

An investigation will take place to try and determine how and why it ended up in difficulty on this coast.

An Marine Accident Investigation Branch spokesperson said:

"The MAIB has commenced a full safety investigation into the loss of the scallop dredger, Joanna C, in the morning of 21 November 2020. The MAIB will co-operate with other stakeholders in the investigation, and a report of the investigation will be published in due course."