The Joanna C issued an alert at roughly 6am on Saturday (Image: SWNS)

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The search for two missing fishermen whose boat sank yesterday off the Sussex coast has been called off this afternoon.

A major rescue effort began at Seaford, near Newhaven, on Saturday when the coastguard received an emergency alert at roughly 6am.

One crew member was found clinging to a buoy and taken to hospital.

In a statement HM Coastguard said: "The search has terminated at 3pm. Sadly nothing further has been found."

A coastguard scans the rough seas
(Image: Jon Santa Cruz/REX/Shutterstock)

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HM Coastguard confirmed they received an alert three nautical miles off the coast at Seaford from the emergency beacon of a fishing vessel called Joanna C.

Throughout Saturday a number of vessels, including local fishing boats, took part in the search.

A spokeswoman for the Coastguard said Eastbourne and Birling Gap Coastguard Rescue Teams were also conducting a shoreline search around Beachy Head.

An RNLI lifeboat during the search near Seaford
(Image: PA)

As many as 14 vessels combed the waters where the boat was last seen on Saturday, while two helicopters were scrambled for the initial phase of the search.

Debris from the boat was found at the same time as the first crew member.

A GoFundMe page set up to support the families of the two missing men has so far raised more than £3,500.

Donations will be passed to the Fishermen's Mission, a charity providing practical, emotional and financial support to fishermen and their families, which will distribute it to those affected.

Organiser Tony Rowe said on the page: "Our prayers are with those directly involved and the wider community who all have been affected in some way."