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Hopes Fading For Woman Who Fell Overboard Cruise Ship

Hopes are fading for a female passenger who fell overboard from a P&O cruise ship near New Caledonia.

Rough conditions are hampering a search that began after a Pacific Dawn crew member raised the alarm around 4pm on Thursday, about 150 nautical miles west of New Caledonia.

A 'man overboard' incident response was activated immediately and the ship began retracing its route.

"Pacific Dawn will continue searching into this morning beyond first light," Carnival Australia spokesman David Jones said on Friday.

"Hopes of survival in the prevailing sea conditions would have diminished significantly during the night."

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority and New Caledonian authorities issued a call for nearby vessels to assist in the search.

An AMSA spokeswoman told AAP there was no further update yet on the search.

A ship passenger, who asked not to be named, described the atmosphere onboard as "very sad, solemn and quiet".

A Brisbane man holidaying on the ship with his family, who also asked not to be identified, told AAP conditions in the search area were rough, with three-to-four metre swells.

Another passenger, Jonathan Trevithick, posted an image on Twitter of a ring buoy floating in the ocean and said the situation was "horrendous".

P&O Cruises said its thoughts and prayers are with the family of the missing passenger.

The ship was on a seven-night cruise from Brisbane to the South Pacific with scheduled calls to Noumea, Lifou and Port Vila.

Pacific Dawn is due in Brisbane on Saturday.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

AAP

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