Disappearance of George Smith

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George Smith
Born George Allen Smith IV
(1978-10-03)October 3, 1978
Disappeared July 5, 2005
somewhere off the coast of Turkey
presumed dead July 2005 (aged 26)
Occupation Store Manager
Known for Disappearing from a cruise ship on his honeymoon
Home town Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
Spouse(s) Jennifer Hagel (June 24, 2005-July 5, 2005; his death)

George Allen Smith IV (born October 3, 1978) was an American man who disappeared overboard from the cruise ship MS Brilliance of the Seas in July 2005 under suspicious circumstances.[1] His story has been reported on by Dateline NBC and 48 Hours and was depicted in a television film.

Story[edit]

Having married Jennifer Hagel eleven days earlier, George Smith was on his honeymoon, a two-week trip on a Mediterranean cruise stopping in Greece, Turkey and Italy, among other locations.[2]

Foul play[edit]

Smith mysteriously disappeared on the evening of July 5, 2005,[3][4] and evidence suggested that foul play might have been involved. Blood stains were found in his cabin as well as on the side of the ship, and it appeared that he might have been tossed off the ship or fallen overboard and drowned. The police suspected homicide.

On July 29, 2005, the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that they were investigating Smith's disappearance.[5] Geraldo Rivera aired a news story interviewing Josh Askin, one of the people last seen with Smith, along with two men of Russian origin; Greg Rozenberg and Zach Rozenberg. On June 29, 2006, it was announced that Royal Caribbean International had agreed to pay compensation to Smith's estate.[6]

Investigation of the death continued in 2012. The New York Post reported that the matter had been referred to the Mafia division of the FBI. The television program Dateline shed new light on the theory that the death was most likely a robbery gone bad. Jennifer Hagel Smith, who remarried in 2009, and was criticized in certain quarters (particularly by Smith's family) for her conduct on the night of his disappearance, has contended that she believed it was an accident caused by her late husband's intoxication. In June 2006, Hagel Smith accepted compensation set at $1.1 million from Royal Caribbean. However, Smith's family later challenged the terms of the settlement as well as the amount of the monetary compensation.[7]

Cruise ship passenger rights[edit]

Smith's disappearance has led to wider interest in passenger rights on cruise ships. In 2013, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) introduced a bill of rights[8] that CEO and president Christine Duffy said "codifies many long-standing practices of CLIA members and goes beyond those to further inform cruise guests of the industry's commitment to their comfort and care."[9] In the same year, Smith's parents backed a bill co-sponsored by U.S. senators Richard Blumenthal and Jay Rockefeller, The Cruise Ship Passenger Protection Act.[10] The bill would allow for greater transparency when crimes are committed on cruise ships and more federal government protection of passengers' rights.[11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Staff (January 6, 2012). "New leads in 2005 cruise ship disappearance of newlywed George Smith IV as FBI's Russian mafia team joins investigation". Daily Mail. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Cruise Ship Tragedy: The Tara Reid Connection". Gawker. 2012-06-10. Archived from the original on 2010-09-18. Retrieved 2006-01-25. 
  3. ^ "Press Release: Royal Caribbean International Responds To Allegations Involving George Smith's Disappearance With Factual Chronology". Royal Caribbean International. 2006-01-05. Archived from the original on 2009-07-25. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  4. ^ "Press Release: Top 10 Myths Regarding Royal Caribbean's Handling Of The Disappearance Of George Smith". Royal Caribbean International. 2006-01-27. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  5. ^ "Statement of U.S. Attorney Kevin J. O’Connor and FBI Special Agent-In-Charge Michael J. Wolf on the George A. Smith IV Investigation" (PDF). US Attorney statement. US Department of Justice. July 29, 2005. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2005-12-16. Retrieved 2008-05-10. 
  6. ^ "Judge uphold the widow's settlement". AP/AOL. 2008-05-02. Retrieved 2008-05-10. [dead link]
  7. ^ Pat Eaton-Robb, "Royal Caribbean Amends Settlement With Family Of George Smith IV, Who Disappeared 5 Years Ago", Huffington Post, September 14, 2010.
  8. ^ Staff (May 22, 2013). "Cruise Industry Adopts Passenger Bill of Rights" (Press release). Washington DC: Cruise Lines International Association, Inc. Finn Partners. Retrieved 2014-07-04. 
  9. ^ Brown, Genevieve Shaw (May 25, 2013). "Cruise Passenger Bill of Rights Introduced". ABC News. Retrieved 29 March 2014. 
  10. ^ Pottle, Justin (August 5, 2013). "Family of Man Lost At Sea Backs Cruise Ship Bill". Greenwich Time. Retrieved March 29, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Rockefeller Seeks Passenger Safety Reforms in Cruise Ship Industry". Governmental Press Release. Archived from the original on March 29, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2014.