Police Scotland has released audio of a distress call to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency which is now being treated as a hoax.
The mayday radio message was made during the afternoon of Monday, 18 June, and led to a major rescue operation in the Moray Firth.
The call is believed to have been made from the Banff and Macduff area.
Inspector Megan Heathershaw said: “Any distress call made to the emergency services will be taken seriously and these calls have led to the intensive use of time and resources by the Coastguard and other emergency services.
“We have taken the relatively unusual step of releasing a copy of this call to the public and appeal for help in identifying the person responsible. I would ask for anyone who recognises the voice on the transmission to please contact us as soon as possible. Likewise I would also appeal to this person directly to get in touch with us.
Any report of a hoax call to the emergency services will be thoroughly investigated. Every false or inappropriate call takes up the time of the emergency services and may prevent someone who genuinely needs help from getting it. It can also place the safety of the people in the emergency services at risk and in this case caused unnecessary search and rescue activity at sea.
“We would ask that anyone with information gets in touch with police on 101 using reference number PS-20180619-1402. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”