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Drunk passenger admits dropping ship’s anchor in Caribbean

  • Mon, 22 Aug 2011

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

ms rydenham

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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