Scared Monkeys Missing Persons Site

Scarborough, George Smith IV, and the Cruise Industry Congressional Hearing

Joe Scarborough has done tireless work on the disappearance of honeymooner George Allen Smith IV aboard a Royal Caribbean cruise ship. The disappearance and the presumed cover up and tampering of evidence have sparked a Congressional hearing into the cruise line industry, its risks, security and jurisdiction issues.

Well, this is a joint hearing with Chris Shays. He chairs in Government Reform the Homeland Security Committee. I chair the one with oversight over the FBI and the Justice Department. And both of us are senior members of Homeland Security.

Coming on the foot heals of yet another disappearance of a passenger aboard a cruise ship, Congress will have hearings and the following is a rather informative look into the many issues that cruise ship passengers have never contemplated until recently.

SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY is just beginning. Tomorrow, there’s going to be a hearing right behind me on Capitol Hill, and they’re going to be investigating what happened to that man, George Smith IV, and whether the cruise line that he was on with his beautiful wife covered up a murder, or at least covered up evidence of a possible murder for profit.

SCARBOROUGH: And now to the case of the missing honeymooner George Smith.

The 26-year-old vanished from his honeymoon cruise five months ago, and now Congress is bringing the cruise industry to Capitol Hill, as we in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY have been demanding for months.

Now, Congress is going to hold hearings right here in D.C. tomorrow to try to get answers on what the cruise industry is doing, and to be quite blunt with you, what they’re not doing to keep you and your family members safe when you go on a cruise.

It’s what George Smith’s family calls justice for George.

There are a couple issues of note that have come into issue. One is jurisdiction, the other is the securing of a crime scene.

PETER GREENBERG, TRAVEL EDITOR, “TODAY”: More popular than ever.

It’s been growing exponentially by double-digit growth.

But what the congressman pointed out, quite rightly, is you have two separate issues here, homeland security and crime scene investigation. And when it comes to homeland security, those hearings should have been held a long time ago, in terms of how you protect your passengers, in terms of terrorism and acts like that.

But when it comes to crime scene investigation, here’s the problem with jurisdiction. You have got ships with Bahamian, Panamanian, Liberian flags. Once you get outside of U.S. territorial waters, who takes over the investigation? In the case of the George Smith situation, his death—or his disappearance, I should say, was reported when the ship came into Kusadasi in Turkey, the Turkish officials came on board the ship.

But here’s the problem. A cruise ship’s schedule, its sailing schedule does not lend itself to good forensic work in terms of preserving the crime scene, hair and fiber, the chain of custody of evidence. And it’s a real problem any time you have a moving object and you’re trying to secure a crime scene.

Read the following Scarborough transcript for an education and pondering questions of travel and security on the high seas.

December 13th, 2005 at 08:06pm Posted by | Cruise ship, George Allen Smith IV, Missing, Missing Adult | 3 comments

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  1. Our prayers are with all families that have suffered any
    type of loss during a cruise.

    On May 12, 2005, we were passengers on the Carnival Destiny traveling between Barbados and Aruba when an elderly couple disappeared without a trace. The crew searched all cabins on the ship the next morning around 3:00 AM, There was no investigation that we were made aware of and the only information Carnival would give us was that they turned the ship around 8 hours after the people were found missing and we searched for them in the water for a couple hours. We had enough time to stop in St. Maarten but not Aruba. We saw and heard from no law enforcement. Three days later when we got off the ship in San Juan all passengers were given a flyer to report anything they knew to the FBI. We did not know if there was foul play or an accident. If you were on that cruise please post a message. If you have had similar experiences involving poor or non-existent safety and security procedures on a cruise please post a message at

    We sent a letter to congressman Stupac and Senator Levin on 7/29/05 asking that Congress take action to improve safety and security procedures for customers of travel companies in the Caribbean and South America. The entertainment director on our cruise bragged that the US Health Department had examined the kitchens and food service on the ship a few days earlier, yet we see no involvement by US authorities when two people disappear. We saw no involvement by any type of law enforcement for the final 3 days of our cruise until leaving the ship on 5/15/05 when we were all given flyers about the missing couple.

    It is not the number of deaths as much as it is the fact that Americans pay the cruise companies billions of dollars each year and they do not provide adequate security or safety.

    Questions for Congressman Shays and the subcommittee::

    I went to the web site for his subcommittee and there is nothing on the schedule about the Cruise hearings. When will private citizens be provided with a way to comment or submit evidence. It seems that MSNBC or the sub-committee should make it easier for average joe’s to have there voices heard. They are also welcome to use my website or email address. The comments could be submitted to the sub-committee for consideration.

    Don’t we have air marshall that fly on international flights? Couldn’t we have sea marshals that ride on cruise ships and have authority negotiated with the cruise companies to investigate safety and security incidents? They could be funded by fees paid by the cruise companies.

    Alabama’s governor has called for a nationwide travel boycott of Aruba because of the disappearance of Natalee Holloway. However, at least 17 people have gone overboard or missing from cruise ships since 2000, according to research by .
    Maybe we should be boycotting the cruise lines, especially Carnival who has had the most incidents.

    Someone seems to be getting away with murder. If I ran a bar and called 911 to report that a gentleman fell against the wall in the back of the bar, split his head open and died, do you think I could ask them just to send over a hearse and take the body to the morgue? I do not think so, but that is what the cruise line is getting a way with. I will go to jail for tampering with a possible crime scene. Even if it were an accident, I might be liable and I am not the one to make such a judgment. The cruise company seems guilty of aiding and abetting criminals. They are an accessory before and after the fact and should be prosecuted as such. It they are preventing countless crimes and accidents from being solved they are also permitting criminals to go free and commit additional crimes and they are avoiding liability for lax safety and security measures. We must demand through our Congressman that charges be filed against the Cruise lines. They are liable if the destroyed evidence and the crime cannot be investigated. Even if there was no crime they are liable because of safety problems. The only pressure these large corporations might respond to is money. Perhaps if they were sued and forced to refund the fares paid by all passengers on cruises where people disappeared, they might think twice about not following the law. A class action similar to the one filed against the tobacco companies might be in order. They continued to disregard the law and put the health and safety of thousands of passengers at risk and then they conspired to cover it up. A small portion of the proceeds could go as refunds to passengers and to compensate family members of the missing. The balance could go to establish a reporting, monitoring, and compliance mechanism to make them report all crimes and accidents involving passengers and crew members and follow all laws pertaining to preserving crime scenes and evidence and allowing real law enforcement agencies to investigate.

    On a previous show Joe stated that Cruise ships should be required to be flagged in the United States if they have American Ports of call. Unfortunately, this will never happen. They don’t even pay taxes. Will Carnival provide better safety and security for those housed on board the ships contracted by FEMA for six months than they do for regular cruises? It might be worth interviewing some of the people staying on board for several months. Carnival, which is headquartered in Miami but incorporated for tax purposes in Panama, paid just $3 million in income tax benefits on $1.9 billion in pretax income last year, according to company documents. This is the same as if I made $100,000 last year and only had to pay $75.00 in taxes. “That’s not even a tip,” said Robert S. McIntyre of Citizens for Tax Justice. U.S. companies in general pay an effective income tax rate of about 25 percent, analysts say. That would have left Carnival with a $475 million tax bill. No wander the FBI does not want to investigate incidents on Carnival ships. If Carnival paid the $475 million in taxes they should pay, the FBI could afford to have an agent on each cruise to monitor safety and security. (Personally, I believe that state, local, and Federal government agencies should not give any contracts for Hurricane repairs or anything else or do business with any companies that have headquarters outside the United States and funnel their profits off shore to avoid taxes)
    Maybe we should charge them increased fees for each American passenger and use the funds to put a safety and security program in place. Congress should act to assure the safety of all passengers in the future by requiring background checks for some passengers and all crewmembers. Perhaps an “Amber” type alert for everyone on the ship and nearby ships within minutes of someone going overboard. Perhaps a sea Marshall program like the air Marshall program. Vacationing and retired civilian and military law enforcement personnel could have free cruises to help monitor and investigate security and safety problems. They should have authority to deal directly with the FBI or other government agency.

    Joe Scarborough had excellent quests on his show. However, the people who do know what actually happened on the ship before, during, and after Mr. Smith’s disappearance would be the crew members, including stewards, bartenders, waiters, etc. There’s is always at least a half dozen crewmembers and stewards working each floor at any one time. They watch everyone as they come and go, know their habits and patterns and have access to the cabins. Waiters always know what is going on between guests in a restaurant, bartenders always know intimate details about bar patrons, and hotel staffs always know what is going in the hotel. We could now prove it but we were sure that the stewards were looking through our closets and drawers during our cruise as things would be out of place. We could not find anything specific missing. What kind of background checks are done for crewmembers? The government should also ask for and analyze statistics on the number of crimes and accidents that happen to crewmembers. If the crew is not safe in the under belly of the ship then the passengers will not be safe either. I will bet you that the crewmembers working on the ship when Mr. Smith disappeared have since been fired and their records destroyed. Since 6 people have disappeared from Carnival ships in the last year, I think it would be appropriate to cross check and compare the list of crewmembers and passengers between the ships involved. It is just not those directly involved in the disappearances that are affected. Every passenger on each ship had their vacation ruined by the cruise line ability to ignore common law enforcement and safety procedures. We spend three more days on the sip after the couple disappeared on May 12, and we did not feel safe and we felt a little guilty that not more was done to help them and their families.

    Comment by Tim Albright | December 15, 2005

  2. Monkeys, you should put the link from the above post on the main sight, it is so directly related to missing persons and is also a crime by our govt not to do something about it, as well as the tax issues.

    Comment by Jackie | December 16, 2005

  3. See for List of 42 Cases of Persons Overboard on Cruise Ships since 2000. Cases from 1995 to 2000 are also included.

    Comment by SafeCruise | January 7, 2006

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