California Man Gets Prison Time for Releasing Cruise Ship Anchor
In 2010, a California man made national headlines for releasing the anchor of a moving cruise ship. He has just recently been sentenced to two to four months in a federal prison for the crime.
Rick Ehlert is also facing an additional two months of home confinement, trailed by three years of probation. His sentence also includes a $7,500 fine and substance abuse/mental health counseling.
In August 2011, he plead guilty to one count of attempting to damage a maritime facility. He allegedly broke into a control room and deployed the ship’s anchor onboard Holland America’s Ryndam in a drunken stupor.
The Ryndam was traveling from Mexico's Costa Maya to Tampa at the time of the incident, which took place on Nov. 27, 2010. A surveillance video shows Ehlert entering a restricted area and dropping the 18-ton stern anchor. Investigators say the Holland America ship avoided damage because the anchor didn't hit the sea floor, although the ship was delayed by 3 hours. On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday called Ehlert's actions a "bothersome crime,” according to a USA Today report.