Transcript: Royal Caribbean Responds
This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," January 17, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.
GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tonight, the FBI is still looking for answers in the mysterious disappearance of George Smith IV. The newlywed disappeared on July 5th from a honeymoon cruise.
While we were onboard the cruise ship last week, we spoke with Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain about the investigation.
VAN SUSTEREN: Now, I'm sure you've heard of Jennifer Hagel Smith and George Smith. What impact does this investigation's attention have on your company?
RICHARD FAIN, ROYAL CARIBBEAN CHAIRMAN AND CEO: Well, I think the most important thing is any time we have anything go wrong especially if there's a terrible tragedy like this, it's something that we all tend to take very much to heart. It's an awful thing to happen for anybody and we clearly, I sympathize with it and I know our people do.
At the same time, there have been some charges made out there about how we handled it and I do know that under very difficult circumstances our people did their absolute best to make sure that the work was done, the investigation was done with a professional, conscientious way and in a compassionate way and I believe having reviewed what they did that they did achieve that.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything the FBI has asked of you that you haven't provided?
FAIN: We'd like to have answers to everything. We have provided everything we've been able to provide to them in terms of any kind of evidence, in terms of access to our crew, in terms of computer records, whatever we have, we have turned over. And we have a very good working relationship. We've been doing this for many years with them whenever they have things and I think the level of cooperation is quite good on both sides.
VAN SUSTEREN: What are they still asking for? Because it seems to me they want a passenger list. They would want the security cameras. They would want access to other forensic samples when they're taken by the Turkish authorities, which is a matter of the Turkish authorities and the FBI and not you.
They would like to see, I'm sure, the scene themselves and they should have seen it early on if they were aggressively doing it. They'd want a list of your employees. Is there anything else that they want?
FAIN: You gave quite an exhaustive list I think. I think it covers everything. One of the problems is I'm not an expert in this area but what does appear to happen is that the FBI asks certain questions and questions lead them to other things and then they come back to us and say "Can you give us this further information" or "Do you know how to reach so and so, so we can speak to him?"
My understanding is every person, every crewmember they've asked to talk to has voluntarily cooperated with them and provided them all the information they've asked for.
VAN SUSTEREN: Do you feel like Jennifer Hagel Smith and her lawyers have made you, not you personally but your company out to be a villain in this?
FAIN: The information they've been receiving has been terribly, terribly misleading. They've not been getting information from the FBI. They've cut off information flow from us and so the only information they're getting is from plaintiff attorneys, from people speculating and that information is horrific.
It's not accurate but it is horrific and that's I think a problem for them and I feel for them. And, I think there is something none of us know how we would react to grief, as I'm sure they're experiencing.
VAN SUSTEREN: Why do you think this has gotten so much attention? You know lots of places people get hurt, disappear all over the world.
FAIN: I think that it is so unusual for this to happen on a cruise ship. I think that ironically the cruise ships are so safe and compared to virtually any other vacation or general living you're much safer on a cruise ship than virtually anything else you might want to do.
And so, when it does happen on a cruise ship that itself is of interest. And, of course, any of these are tragic. I mean you cannot be influenced when you realize what it must be like to a mother to lose her child or to a wife to suddenly lose her husband.
And, I think sometimes these things just gain a life of their own. I think the fact that we don't have a clear answer, the fact that there is some mystery was it an accident? Was foul play involved? We don't know that and I think that mystery also adds a bit of spice to it.
VAN SUSTEREN: Let me add a third to it, suicide, and ask you what do you think it points to murder, accident or suicide?
FAIN: I don't think anybody in our company thinks that it was suicide. I think there's absolutely no reason to believe that that was a factor at all. I think the guess is that it was either simply a tragic accident or there is a possibility of foul play and we really don't know.
And I, you know, this wouldn't be getting such interest and we wouldn't be having this conversation if any of us had a clearer answer to that question. And, as you mentioned before, I'm really hoping that the FBI helps us answer that question soon.
VAN SUSTEREN: Thank you, sir.
FAIN: Thank you very much.
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