"Pacific Dawn had searched throughout the night and into the morning after first light without success". She said the primary response lies with the ship's flag state which is the UK.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the search was terminated the following morning, ABC News reports.
A search for a mother who fell overboard a P&O cruise ship near New Caledonia while on holiday has been called off, with the decision made to return to Brisbane.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the guest's family at this distressing time".
A P&O spokesman said that, in line with normal procedures, the Pacific Dawn incident has been referred to Queensland police and to the coroner for appropriate inquiries.
Ms An said while the circumstances were tragic and there was a sombre mood onboard, passengers had been kept well-informed of the situation.
It's believed the woman went on to the deck to be sick when a freak wave knocked her overboard, Nine Network reported on Friday. After hours of searching in rough seas and high winds, the captain told passengers that "with a heavy heart", they had "made the extremely hard decision to continue our journey towards Brisbane", reports the Courier Mail.
"The time frame for survivability was quite limited due to the weather conditions that included four metre swells, 30 knot winds and darkness, and because we knew the missing passenger was not wearing a life jacket", a spokeswoman said.
The Pacific Dawn was expected to arrive back to Brisbane later than its 6am Saturday scheduled time.
Another woman on board posted to social media that she was "Feeling helpless" and "this woman who fell overboard has a husband and children on board".
The ship was on a week-long cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia and has now resumed its course for Brisbane.
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