A body recovered from the sea been identified as missing fisherman Robert Morley from the Joanna C

A body recovered from the sea been identified as missing fisherman Robert Morley from the Joanna C

The body recovered from the sea at Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex in December has formally been identified as missing fisherman Robert Morley, whose fishing vessel the Joanna C sank last November.

Robert Morley, 38 from Pembrokeshire was one of three on board the scallop dredger Joanna C when it sank off Newhaven, East Sussex leaving skipper Dave Bickerstaff the only survivor.

He was pulled from the water by the lifeboat crew from RNLI Newhaven on the morning of the incident. The body of fellow crew member, 26-year-old Adam Harper was recovered from the wreck days later.

The late Mr Morley’s father Barry Woolford confirmed the news on Facebook page. He wrote:

 “To all the beautiful people of Brixham, it is with much sadness that I have to inform you that our son Robert Morley has been identified as the body that was brought from the sea at Bexhill in December.

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“Thank you all for your fantastic support and love these past 12 weeks.

“No further information is available at this moment regarding funeral arrangements but on behalf of all Rob’s family thanks Brixham.”

The Joanna C sank in the early hours of Saturday, 21 November 2020. The search began at 6.00am on Saturday morning, when HM Coastguard received an EPIRB alert located three nautical miles off the coast at Seaford near Newhaven, from the EPIRB from the vessel.

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. Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Team has been sent to check for sightings from the shore. Other fishing vessels in the area responded to the Coastguard radio broadcasts and helped with the search.

The search was called-off on the afternoon of Sunday, 22 November 2020. When the rescue mission was called off, hundreds of people gathered in Newhaven for a two-minute silence to send their thoughts to the friends and families affected.

Newhaven Lifeboat crews, who were among the emergency teams involved in the desperate search for the fishermen, joined the tribute from their station.

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch launched its inquiry into the sinking.

Fundraising efforts for the families of the Joanna C crew went worldwide in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, and more than £60,000 has been raised on different GoFundMe appeals for the families affected.

Body recovered from sea identified as Robert Morley of the Joanna C

by editor time to read: 6 min