EMERGENCY services were launched last night after HM Coastguard and several fishing vessels picked up a spoken mayday call in the Moray Firth off Macduff.
The four man crew of Macduff lifeboat launched just after 6pm and were tasked with searching the inshore coastal area around Tarlair in response to the spoken mayday call.
It stated that there were three people onboard a vessel and they were abandoning ship. No further transmissions were received for the duration of the search.
Lifeboats from Buckie and Fraserburgh were also launched to join in with the search along with the HM Coastguard helicopter from Inverness and local Coastguard coastal rescue teams.
Buckie and Fraserburgh lifeboats performed a costal search from their respective stations as they made their way to the main search area off Macduff.
An extensive search of the area from Troup Head to Portsoy was carried out by the three lifeboats who were assisted by two fishing vessels the Sardonyx and Fisher Boys.
The search began inshore and finished roughly 6.5 nautical miles out.
The search was suspended at around 10:30 pm with all boats stood down to return to station.
Macduff lifeboat coxswain Chassey Findlay, who took the helm of the lifeboat for the search said: "Visibility was good during the search and the sea state was moderate, so if there was anything to be found by the lifeboats, HM Coastguard or the search and rescue helicopter I am confident that it would have been spotted.
"I would like to thank the skippers and crews of Sardonyx and Fisher Boys who came to assist during the search.
"The crews of these fishing vessels put their trips on hold to help with the search and this goes to show what a strong bond there is within the fishing communities along the north-east coast."
Macduff RNLI operations manager Roy Morrison said: "Obviously with nothing being found during the search we are still concerned that a vessel may have been in trouble and would like to bring this to a conclusion.
"I would urge anyone who saw anything last night or if anyone has any additional information to call Aberdeen Coastguard.
"If something is spotted or it is an emergency call 999 and ask for the Coastguard, or if you have further information on last night's events you can call Aberdeen Coastguard on 01224 592334."