POLICE are appealing for information about a boat that may be linked to a shipment of drugs found on a containership.

The Australian Federal Police are investigating a criminal syndicate behind an alleged attempt to import around 91 kilograms of cocaine into New Zealand on the Spirit of Auckland (IMO: 9360752).

Police believe the cocaine was originally found in a compartment hidden inside the hull of the UK-flagged containership.

Spirit of Auckland had travelled through South America, the United States and Australia before reaching New Zealand, according to the AFP.

An Australian national, 32, was arrested in Dunedin, New Zealand on 17 September over the alleged cocaine importation.

Police believe the Victorian resident attempted to scuba dive to retrieve the drugs.

He was charged with offences relating to the alleged attempted importation of the cocaine and is to face court in New Zealand on 15 March 2023.

International investigations have identified a boat seen near Spirit of Auckland when it called Port of Melbourne in September last year.

The AFP is now asking for public information about sightings and the occupants of the 5.2-metre open-cab boat.

It was last seen near the Newport boat ramp in the Port of Melbourne harbour on 8 September 2022.

“Australian authorities are investigating if this boat conducted reconnaissance for the syndicate to try to identify any law enforcement interest, while the Spirit of Auckland was passing through Australian waters,” AFP said in a statement.

“The 5.2-metre boat had a distinctive fish skeleton sticker on its body and a black and white centre console.

“The AFP is now seeking the public’s help to identify the movements … of this vessel and information about the people onboard.

“Police working together across borders urge anyone with information to come forward.”

Police are asking anyone who can identify the boat and its movements or occupants to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppers.com.au. Information can be provided anonymously.

Police are appealing for information about this boat, last seen in Port of Melbourne in September 2022. Image: Australian Federal Police.