NEWS

Missing Ship Passenger's Boyfriend Opens Up

03/09/2012 09:15 EST | Updated 05/09/2012 05:12 EDT
ABC

The boyfriend of a B.C. woman who disappeared from a cruise ship off the coast of Florida last week has told CBC News he is grieving the apparent loss of the woman he loved.

Ramiz Golshani of Coquitlam, B.C., was travelling with girlfriend Fariba Amani aboard the Bahama Celebration when she vanished during an overnight sailing from the Bahamas to Florida Feb. 29.

"I've lost a loved one myself. I'm waiting for her to come back," Golshani told CBC reporter Eric Rankin in a telephone interview Friday.

Golshani, 46, told FBI agents in Florida that he last saw Amani, 47, of Port Moody, B.C., near a duty free shop on the ship at about 1 a.m. ET and went to bed, but notified the crew about seven hours later after he awoke and realized she had not returned.

At the time, the cruise ship company recounted his version of events.

"The way he explains it … he got back to room, went to bed, she still wasn't there,” said Celebration Cruise Lines president Charles Kinnear. “When he got up in the morning, still wasn't there. He walked around the ship for a while before he decided to come and tell us."

Golshani said he has been completely up front with the authorities.

"I have told the investigators in the United States everything what I know about this incident,” Golshani told CBC News. “There's nothing more I can say or add to this."

On Monday, Golshani said the FBI had cleared him of any wrongdoing.

"If I had any per cent of a guilt, I would not be out," he said.

Golshani said he is grieving the loss. "I'm surviving, for now,” he said.

Amani's family says the couple's relationship was troubled, that she only went on the cruise because it was prepaid, and that she planned to break up with Golshani when it was over.

The family also is demanding to know why the FBI allowed the Bahamas Celebration to sail with new passengers the same day Fariba was reported missing, only checking the ship when it returned to Palm Beach.

“The ship is the alleged crime scene,” said Amani's sister, Sahel Amani. “We feel like they took the crime scene away and two days later they allowed the FBI to search the ship.”

One critic of the cruise ship industry says he doesn't find it surprising the ship left port quickly.

"The cruise lines, once any kind of an incident happens, they automatically go into defence mode and do everything they can to protect themselves,” said U.S. maritime law expert Mike Winkleman.

A 36-hour U.S. Coast Guard search of the waters in which the ship had sailed turned up no trace of Amani.

The FBI says the investigation into her disappearance is ongoing.