Suspect in Custody for Domestic Dispute That Led to Death of Woman Aboard Cruise Ship

The cruise ship Emerald Princess anchors in southern Sweden. Scanpix Sweden / Reuters file

Federal authorities planned to announce charges Thursday in what was described as a domestic dispute aboard a cruise ship in U.S. waters off Alaska that led to the death of a 39-year-old Utah woman.

A suspect was taken into custody, the FBI in Anchorage said late Wednesday.

Princess Cruises said the woman died Tuesday night on the Emerald Princess, which was carrying 3,400 passengers and 1,100 crew members on a weeklong trip that left Sunday from Seattle. The ship docked in c, on Wednesday morning.

Few details about the case were released as investigators went about their work. Passengers were kept aboard the ship for much of the day Wednesday, prompting some grumbling.

“You feel sorry for the family but a lot of people had to wait,” said Lloyd Barrows, a passenger from Alberta, Canada.

The U.S. attorney’s office announced it would hold a news conference with representatives of the FBI and Coast Guard Thursday in Anchorage to announce the filing of federal charges in the case.

The Emerald Princess was diverted to Juneau because of the investigation. The ship arrived in Juneau early Wednesday, and passengers were kept on board for more than eight hours before they were allowed to disembark. While on board, some scoped out their surroundings with binoculars or took pictures of the gray, rainy scenery, while others watched the comings-and-goings in the restricted-access area leading to the ship. Some waved to onlookers on shore.

The scene was somewhat harried as people got off the boat and they tried to figure out if their shore excursion was still on, where they needed to go and if they needed to make alternate sight-seeing plans.

Suzanne Ragsdale, of Houston, said passengers were notified late Tuesday about security issues and told over the public address system Wednesday morning that there had been a death.

She said being onboard for so long was “awful” and that her kids were bored.

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SOURCE: NBC News, The Associated Press