Today we remember the second anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Joanna C fishing boat off the Sussex coast near the port of Newhaven in which two fishermen lost their lives.
On the morning of 21st of November 2020 6am HM Coastguard received a EPIRB alert located around three nautical miles at Seaford near Newhaven from the vessel Joanna C.
HM Coastguard immediately sent the Coastguard rescue helicopter from Lydd, supported by the Coastguard rescue helicopter based at Lee On Solent and RNLI all weather lifeboats from both Newhaven and Eastbourne. Local coastguard teams were were sent and carried out searches from the shore.
Three fishermen were on board at the time of sinking, One of them was pulled out of the water and brought to shore by the Newhaven RNLI.
Unfortunately 2 other crew were lost at sea. Adam Harper, 26, from Brixham and Robert Morley, 38, from Pembrokeshire.
Adam’s Body was recovered from the sunken vessel on the 24th of November but it was not until the 14th of December that Robert Morley body was washed ashore in Bexhill, due to the formal identification process the body was not released until late February to the family and Robert’s funeral took place on the 8th of March with a procession along the harbour in Newhaven followed by a family cremation in Brighton.
Robert Morley’s family campaigned for a permanent memorial for those who have died fishing off the Sussex coast in recent years, raising more than £20,000. The memorial stands on the edge of the port of Newhaven, alongside the River Ouse, where fishing boats come in from the sea. The sculpture, which cost £13,000 to construct, was unveiled on the 28th April 2022 on what would have been his 40th birthday.
Four other fisherman are commemorated with the sculpture are Darren Brown, from Newhaven who fell overboard on Our Sarah Jane in 2016, and Joe Bowen, Andrew Penfold and John Ship who died when the Sylvia Marita sank in 1979.
The Search and Rescue operation lasted more then 13 hours on the day before being stood down.
Our thoughts are with the friends and families of the Fishermen.