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Cruise ship crew member accused of stabbing woman and two security guards with scissors

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The FBI has arrested one cruise ship worker in Alaska after the man allegedly stabbed one woman and two security guards onboard the Norwegian Encore.

A South African man, identified as 35-year-old Ntando Sogoni, was arrested in Juneau, Alaska after he was accused of stabbing the cruise ship victims with a pair of medical scissors. The incident took place onboard the Norwegian Encore while the vessel was off the coast of Vancouver.

According to the affidavit, fellow cruise ship workers witnessed Ntando Sogoni attempting to deploy a lifeboat onboard the Norwegian vessel. Security guards were quickly on the scene and brought Sogoni to the medical center for further evaluation, which is when the stabbing incident occurred.

In the medical center, Sogoni allegedly became irrational and attempted to leave before the physical attacks happened. The U.S. Attorney’s Office states that the cruise ship worker started to stab another patient in the medical center before attacking two of the ship’s security guards.

“Upon arrival, Sogoni physically attacked a security guard and a male nurse inside an examination room and proceeded to enter another examination room where a woman, who is a U.S. citizen, was being examined,” states the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alaska.

The injured woman was stabbed multiple times in the arm, hand, and face by Sogoni during the incident. He proceeded to stab two of the Norwegian Encore security guards during the incident, along with a male nurse in the medical center.

According to details released by authorities, Sogoni stabbed one guard in the back and shoulders while the other was stabbed in the head. The injuries were not considered life-threatening, although the current status of the victims was not released.

Following the incident, Sogoni was detained onboard the Norwegian Encore and held in the ship’s jail before he was officially arrested for the assault. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Alaska said Sogoni is being charged with assault with a dangerous weapon within maritime and territorial jurisdiction.

The affidavit also states that Sogoni was recently hired by the cruise line and joined the ship for his contract on Sunday, which was the start of Norwegian Encore’s 7-night Alaska Glacier sailing. The ship departed from Seattle, Washington on Sunday, May 5. The stabbing occurred in the late evening on Sunday and into the early morning hours of Monday. Sogoni was arrested by the FBI when the ship arrived in Juneau, Alaska on Tuesday.

If convicted, Sogoni will face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison. He will also face a $250,000 fine for each count. The U.S. Attorney’s Office states in the press release that a federal distinct court judge will determine the sentence of Sogoni based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, along with other statutory factors that will be taken into consideration.

The official press release states that the FBI Anchorage Field Office and FBI Juneau Resident Agency, along with the Coast Guard Investigative Services, are currently investigating the case. According to the FBI Public Affairs Officer Chloe Martin, there is no threat to passengers onboard and this was considered an isolated incident.

When crimes occur on cruise ships, security personnel onboard are often the first to respond. When the ship docks at its next port of call, local authorities typically get involved as necessary.

Because cruises operate in international waters, there is a grey area legally when crimes occur. If a crime occurs onboard a cruise ship, more than one country could be interested in extorting authority.

For this reason, there are multiple factors that are considered to determine which country has jurisdiction. This includes the ship’s location when the crime occurred, the cruise line’s headquarters location, the country of the ship’s registration, and the citizenship of the involved parties.

The FBI has authority to investigate crimes against Americans regardless of the cruise ship’s location or country of registration. The FBI has jurisdiction over American citizens; for this reason, the FBI will typically get involved in cruise ship crime investigations for any crime involving American citizens.

Crimes on cruise ships are relatively rare, with sexual assault being the most commonly reported crime according to the U.S. Department of Transport.

Any cruise ship that departs and returns to a U.S. port must report any major crimes under the Cruise Vessel Security and Safety Act of 2010. In 2023, there were around 180 cases of major crimes onboard cruise ships in the United States.

The FBI reported Carnival Cruise Line has the most reported major crimes from 2023 with 68 incidents, followed by Royal Caribbean with 38 and Disney with 25. However, Carnival Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are two of the largest cruise lines in the world.

Crime on cruise ships has been increasing, according to data released by the FBI. In 2019, there were only 130 major crimes reported that occurred on cruise ships.

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