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

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

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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