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Crew member stabs 3 people on cruise ship heading to Alaska

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Credit: NCL

A crew member of the Norwegian Encore cruise ship was arrested in Alaska after trying to take a lifeboat and stabbing three people off the coast of Canada, according to court documents and company officials.

Ntando Sogoni, 35, from South Africa, was working on the cruise ship on Monday when other employees saw he was trying to deploy one of the lifeboats. It happened while the ship was traveling in the Pacific Ocean west of Vancouver Island.

Ship security was called and he was taken to the medical center for an assessment, during which Sogoni attacked a security guard and a male nurse, according to prosecutors. He then went to another room where a woman, a U.S. citizen, was being examined.

“He grabbed a pair of scissors and stabbed the woman multiple times in the arm, hand and face,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Alaska said in a statement. “He also stabbed two security guards who intervened – one in the head and one in the back and shoulders.”

Sogoni was detained and held in the ship’s jail until the cruise ship arrived in Juneau, Alaska on Tuesday, after which he was taken into custody by the FBI. The three victims were treated for non-life threatening injuries.

A motive for the attack was not immediately known but a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line described the suspect as a newly employed crew member who exhibited “unusual and irrational behavior.”

The attack in the medical center happened “without provocation,” the company said.

“We condemn violent behavior of this nature and are committed to the safety and security of all crew members and guests on our ships,” the spokesperson said in an email. “We commend the onboard security team for their brave actions.”

Sogoni was charged with assault with a dangerous weapon within maritime and territorial jurisdiction in violation of 18 U.S.C. §113(a)(3). If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count.

File photo of the Norwegian Encore (Credit: NCL)

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