A BOAT believed to have been involved in a fatal accident was five times larger than the capsized fishing vessel it is thought to have collided with.

Sussex Police and the Marine Accident Investigation Branch have revealed a 26 metre long scallop dredging boat is thought to have collided with a a five metre pleasure fishing boat in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Traiam Dumitrache, a 50-year-old Romanian from London, has now been officially named as the victim discovered during an intensive eight hour sea, air and land search off the Shoreham coast this weekend.

Two of his friends, bike shop owning father-of-four Mitch Ilie and his brother-in-law Irinez Popovici, both from Brighton, are still missing.

A fourth member of the fishing trip, Elvis Cojocariu managed to swim for five hours to safety in cold waters.

He was hauled to safety by a commercial fishing boat which spotted him in the water. Mr Cojocariu was so exhausted by his desperate survival effort he collapsed when he reached dry land and woke up in Worthing Hospital.

Their small boat had left Shoreham Harbour at around midnight on Sunday on a night fishing trip, half an hour before the collision which resulted in the smaller fishing boat sinking.

Vertrouwen, a 144.5 tonne scallop dredging boat, left Shoreham around the time of the incident heading for Grimsby.

The boat’s owner, MacDuff Shellfish, is said to be co-operating fully with the investigation.

The same boat came under attack in 2012 from French fisherman in the Bay de Seine when owned by Scott Trawlers.

MacDuff bought the firm and its five vessels, then responsible for 15 per cent of all UK scallop landings, a few months later.

The Aberdeenshire company, the most prolific processor of wild shellfish in Europe, was in turn snapped up by Canadian firm Clearwater Seafoods for £98.4 million in October 2015.

Christine Penney, Clearwater Seafoods vice president sustainability and public affairs, said: “We have been made aware that one of our vessels may have been involved in a tragic incident off the coast of Shoreham earlier this week and our thoughts are with the families of those involved.

“We are fully cooperating with the relevant authorities to establish the facts, and will continue to do so.”

To support the family of Mitch Ilie, visit justgiving.com