A FISHING vessel which collided with a pleasure boat leaving one man dead, two missing and one in hospital has been identified.

Marine accident investigators and police believe a scallop dredging boat, Vertrouwen, which was heading for Grimsby smashed into the smaller craft off Shoreham in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Officers are now in touch with the owners MacDuff Shellfish Ltd, who are co-operating fully with the investigation.

Mitch Ilie and three of his friends were forced to abandon their fishing boat when it was hit by a larger boat.

The father-of-four and his brother-in-law Irinez Popovici are still missing.

The body of a 50-year-old man was recovered within hours while Elvis Cojocariu was rescued after surviving four hours battling for his life in the cold waters.

The boat was lost without raising a distress call.

The man who died has been formally named by police as 50-year-old Traiam Dumitrache, a Romanian national from London.

An appeal has now been launched to raise £20,000 for Mr Ilie’s family as they cope with the emotional and financial aftermath of the tragedy.