The Nine Network has claimed P&O is 'disputing' reports the woman was knocked overboard by a freak wave and that she had approached the railing because she was suffering from sea sickness. That version of events was widely reported early today based on social media posts by passengers.
Government official confirmed the search for the woman had been called off earlier today, 13 hours after the tragic accident was alerted to crew members.
The bad conditions and cold water temperatures mean there was 'no chance of survival', officials said.
The captain of the Pacific Dawn said in a statement, 'It is with a very heavy heart that I need to let you know that we have been unable to locate our guest.
'We are still in the area of the incident, and the weather conditions with the swell three to four metres high, as you can see outside...the strong wind made our search extremely challenging.
'As a result we have now made the extremely difficult decision to continue our journey towards Brisbane.
'I know I speak on behalf of all of you when I say our thoughts and prayers are with the family.'
More details to come.
This article originally appeared on New Idea.