National Crime Agency (NCA) officers seized the 25ft motor boat, Sea Breeze, at a marina in Pwllheli, North Wales, and are forensically examining it.
The officers believe the boat was to rendezvous with the Makayabella somewhere in the Atlantic — a similarity with the interception off the Irish coast in 2008 of the yacht Dances With Waves, which had €600m worth of cocaine onboard.
Like the Makayabella, Dances With Waves was loaded with the Class-A drug in Venezuela before travelling into the Caribbean and on to the Atlantic where it was intercepted by the Naval Service.
It’s understood that the Sea Breeze was towed into Rosslare Harbour by the RNLI on September 19 after running out of fuel en route to Kilmore Quay. When customs officers searched the vessel they found three Englishmen onboard and a number of satellite phones.
They reported this information to the Maritime Analysis and Operations Centre, which is based in Portugal.
The centre co-ordinated the interception of the Makayabella.
The NCA said it had been granted more time by the British courts to question a 47-year-old man from the Leeds area. He was arrested last Thursday on suspicion of conspiring to import cocaine into Britain.
A 43-year-old man arrested at an address in Leeds on Wednesday had earlier been released on police bail pending further enquiries.
NCA branch commander David Norris said “it has been a complex and fast-moving investigation.
He said his team’s enquiries were continuing and they still wished to speak to another individual in connection with the seizure.
The man in question, who is said to be a 29-year-old from the Halton Moor area of Leeds, has gone on the run and Commander Norris urged him to give himself in for questioning.