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.
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 50′ 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.