An international police investigation is under way after a New Zealander was allegedly raped while on a cruise ship in New Caledonia.
The 46-year-old woman from New Zealand says she was attacked by an Australian man while she was sleeping in her cabin on the Pacific Star on New Year’s Eve in the French Loyalty Islands.
P&O billed its eight night cruise as a summer daydream but for the alleged victim it turned out to be a nightmare.
She was reportedly in a state of shock and suffering bruises when French police boarded the ship during a stopover in New Caledonia.
The cruise company would not appear on camera but a spokesperson says it took the complaint seriously.
P&O says the man was removed from the ship straight away and sent home while staff sealed off the crime scene and seized evidence. P&O says the victim took the option of getting off the ship.
The rest of the passengers were not told of the incident and the liner has since set sail again.
New Zealand police boarded the ship in Auckland on Saturday and conducted a scene examination of the cabin.
Police from New Zealand, New Caledonia and the United Kingdom, where the ship is registered, are all involved in the inquiry.
The cruise company says the alleged crime scene was sealed and police in Noumea began investigating while the Pacific Star was still in port.
This is not the first time the Pacific Star and P&O have sailed into hot water. In July last year passengers described a trip on the liner as the cruise from hell when it was badly damaged and had to seek refuge in Port Vila after choosing to sail in a severe storm.
And Australian woman Diane Brimble was found dead in a cabin on board another P&O ship in 2002. She died from a lethal combination of alcohol and the date rape drug fantasy.
The company says it will co-operate with police investigating this latest incident.