Marine welfare organisation, ORRCA, believes a whale spotted off Stockton yesterday and entangled in the string of a buoy may have drifted north of Port Stephens.

Despite towing the buoy and its string around, the whale is swimming freely – suggesting it’s not in great discomfort at this stage.

Water Police searched for the whale last night to no avail, but are liaising with National Parks and Wildlife to monitor the situation.

Jools Farrell from ORRCA is urging skippers around Port Stephens and Newcastle to keep an eye out for the mammal.

“We’re asking all vessels to keep an eye out for it,” she said, “anyone who does spot the whale should call the ORRCA hotline…

“Members of the public who are out on the headland should do the same thing,” Ms Farrell said.

ORRCA is reminding skippers if they do see the animal, law requires them to keep their boats at least 500 metres away.

Once the animal is located, a “difficult” operation to untangle it will begin, however a rescue of a whale caught in rope off the coast of North Head, Manly on Tuesday is providing hope.

“That whale was towing three buoys and it was successfully disentangled…there is hope for this whale – we’re all staying positive,” Ms Farrell concluded.

Teams save a whale at North Head on Tuesday. Image: NPWS.