A rogue Norwegian adventurer is believed to have made it into international waters in an unauthorised bid to sail to Antarctica.
The alarm was raised earlier this week when authorities were told Jarle Andhoey may be making a second attempt to cross Antarctica on a quad bike.
Andhoey is believed to have left Auckland on Monday onboard sailing ship, Nilaya, sparking an air and sea search.
Customs officials said today they had located him after an aerial search last night, but he was sailing outside the 24 nautical mile zone in which the Customs Service has jurisdiction.
Several attempts were made to hail the Nilaya, however no response was recorded from on board.
A family friend of Andhoey said he has made it into international waters and out of reach of the New Zealand authorities.
Stig Hatlo told Radio New Zealand that Andhoey's family have been talking to him and said he had sailed far out to sea.
He said the journey is progressing well and Andhoey doesn't believe he is breaking the law, despite not having permission to visit Antarctica.
Before setting off on his latest journey Andhoey gave an interview to a Norwegian news service in which he said he would be returning to the site where his previous expedition to Antarctica had ended in tragedy.
In February last year Andhoey and a companion were crossing the ice in Antarctica on quad bikes when their support yacht Beserk sank in a storm with three crew members on board.
He told NRK news on December 27 that he planned to find out more about the circumstances leading up to the incident.
"I'm going down to sail to the place 'Berserk' was last registered.... my hope is that we can find out where the boat is, and what actually happened," he said.
"I would like to find out if there had been other circumstances or third parties that had influenced 'Berserk' to leave its safe haven. One thing is certain, we were not welcome to Antarctica 'in the first place'."
The yacht's emergency beacon was activated soon after Andhoey and crewman Samuel Massie were dropped off. It lasted for several hours before transmissions ceased and it was believed the yacht, and three remaining crew, had sunk in one of the worst Antarctic storms in 20 years.
A week-long international search and rescue operation, co-ordinated by the Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand, covered more than 25,000 square kilometres, in often-treacherous seas and 180 kilometre an hour winds.
The Southern Ocean is one of the most remote and inhospitable areas in the world and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said this week it is "obviously concerned about any possibility that there could be a repeat of last year's events in the Ross Sea".