Alaska cruise ship employee arrested, accused of stabbing 3 people aboard

A Norwegian Cruise Line employee is in custody for allegedly stabbing multiple people with scissors aboard the ship Norwegian Encore on Monday during a cruise from Seattle to Alaska. File Photo by Focke Strangmann/EPA-EFE

May 8 (UPI) -- A Norwegian Cruise Line employee is in custody for allegedly stabbing multiple people with scissors during an Alaska cruise.

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Ntando Sogoni, 35, on Tuesday as the ship Norwegian Encore docked in Juneau, the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of Alaska said in a statement.

The ship was traveling to Alaska from Seattle, with stops in British Columbia. The stabbings are reported to have taken place Monday in the waters west of Vancouver Island, B.C., after Sogoni -- a South African citizen -- had joined the ship earlier that day in Seattle.

According to court documents, ship employees saw Sogoni trying to deploy a lifeboat and called security to escort him to the ship's medical center for evaluation.

Inside an exam room, Sogoni "became irrational and attempted to leave," attacking a security guard and a nurse before grabbing a pair of medical scissors and stabbing a female patient "several times in the arm, hand and face," according to the affidavit. Witnesses said he also stabbed two security guards, in the head, back and shoulders, as they tried to detain him.

None of the injuries was considered life-threatening.

Sogoni was held in the ship's jail until the Encore docked in Juneau, where FBI agents arrested him Tuesday.

Sogoni is charged with assault with a dangerous weapon within maritime and territorial jurisdiction. If found guilty, he faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Norwegian Cruise Line said it was "assisting the relevant authorities in the ongoing investigation" after a "newly employed crew member was observed exhibiting unusual and irrational behavior." The cruise line said senior company executives have traveled to Juneau to meet with and help the injured passenger, who is a 75-year-old U.S. citizen, according to a statement obtained by USA Today.

"We condemn violent behavior of this nature and are committed to the safety and security of all crew members and guests on our ships," a Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said. "We commend the onboard security team for their brave actions."