A California man was sentenced in Florida this week to two months in prison and house arrest after he drunkenly deployed the anchor of a Holland America cruise ship while the vessel was underway.
According to reports, Rick Ehlert, after a long night of drinking on Holland America’s MS Ryndam in November 2010, snuck into the cruise ships control room and released the 18-ton stern anchor which brought vessel, traveling at 18 knots at the time, to a sudden stop.
Luckily for prosecutors, the whole thing was caught on the ships surveillance camera leaving little doubt as to the identity of the perp. A federal judge sentenced Ehlert to four months incarceration — two months to be served in a federal prison and two months of home confinement — followed by three years of probation, a $7,500 fine and alcohol abuse classes.
Watch here as Ehlert drunkenly fumbles around the anchor of the MS Ryndam.[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1pZW-LHftY[/youtube]
So how did Elhert know how to deploy the anchor? Well, he also happen to be a wealthy California businessman (he runs RV dealerships) and owner of a 50â€² yacht which, apparently, has an anchor so large it uses a similar winch system.
“Many people have asked me why I dropped the anchor,” he wrote in an apology letter to the ship’s captain. “I believe that I was intrigued by the machinery and curious to see if I could operate it. I do remember trying to stop the anchor once it started moving, but it just kept going faster.”
More details can be found at Tampa Bay Online.