Drunk Passenger Drops Anchor, Stops Cruise

Californian gets two months for 'bothersome crime'

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 7, 2012 11:22 PM CST | Updated Mar 8, 2012 12:19 AM CST

(Newser) – After knocking back martinis all night and stealing a bottle of vodka when the bar closed, a passenger on a Mexico cruise to Florida decided it was time to drop anchor. He snuck into an off-limits area and released the ship's 18-ton anchor, forcing the vessel to a three-hour halt. Now California passenger Rick Ehlert, 45, has been sentenced to two months in prison for what the judge called a "bothersome crime," reports the Tampa Tribune. He will also have to attend substance abuse counseling.

"Many people have asked me why I dropped the anchor," Ehlert 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." Ehlert also tossed a life preserver overboard, and didn't respond to the captain's plea for the person who had thrown it to come forward, requiring all 1,600 cruise passengers to rise before dawn to muster at their emergency stations to be counted.

MS Ryndam passenger Rick Ehlert was intoxicated to the point where he was not functioning in a rational and coherent manner, his lawyer said.
MS Ryndam passenger Rick Ehlert was "intoxicated to the point where he was not functioning in a rational and coherent manner," his lawyer said.   (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
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