A cruise passenger could face 20 years in prison after releasing an anchor off the Caribbean coast

A cruise passenger admitted sneaking into a restricted area

and dropping the ship’s anchor in the middle of the Caribbean when he was

drunk.

MS Ryndam was

travelling from Mexico to Florida when Rick Ehlert dropped the anchor.

He entered a restricted area, put on some work gloves and

released the 18-ton stern anchor. He also threw a life buoy overboard.

Mr Ehlert admitted being drunk and explained that the anchor

system was similar to the one on his own 50ft boat, the Daily Mail reports.

The FBI said that dropping the anchor could have punctured

the ship, measuring almost 220 metres long. It could have sunk or severely

flooded.

In fact, investigators said the only reason the ship avoided

damage was because the anchor didn’t hit the floor.

As soon as the offence was discovered, the captain made an

appeal for information. When no one came forward, CCTV footage was reviewed and

Mr Ehlert was identified.

He faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine after

pleading guilty to one count of attempting to damage a maritime facility.

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