A BODY has been found in waters off Sydney following a search for a cruise ship passenger believed to have gone overboard.

Emergency services were notified just after 0400 on Monday (6 May) that a person had gone missing from the cruise ship Pacific Adventure, which was on its way to Sydney.

The person-overboard alarm was raised at 0400 when the ship was about 10 nautical miles off Sydney Heads. It was due at the White Bay cruise terminal at 0600 on Monday but was delayed while search operations were underway.

NSW Police, the co-ordinating agency for the search, requested assistance from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which deployed its Essendon-based Challenger rescue aircraft.

Four Sydney helicopters, including the Police Airwing and two Westpac lifesaving helicopters, also joined the search.

AMSA reported challenging marine conditions at the time, with five-metre swells and winds of 50 to 60 kilometres per hour.

“About 10.30am, officers attached to Police Marine Area Command located the body of a man and it was retrieved,” NSW Police said in a statement published at around 1130 on Monday.

P&O Cruises Australia, in an updated statement received late morning, said Pacific Adventure had been cleared by NSW Police to return to port following the search.

Pacific Adventure’s next voyage due to depart White Bay this afternoon has been delayed, with the ship expected to leave later tonight on a four-night voyage to Queensland,” P&O said.

“We thank guests for their care, understanding and patience on what’s been a distressing day for guests and crew.

“Our thoughts are with the family of the guest at this difficult time.”

Police will prepare a report for Coroner and intend to launch an investigation into the circumstances of the incident.