Rick Ehlert - Drunk Passenger - Arrested - AnchorThe Smoking Gun reports that a drunk passenger aboard the Ryndam cruise ship, operated by Holland America Line (HAL), released the vessel’s anchor as the cruise ship was returning to Tampa from Costa Maya, Mexico.

Under the category "drunk, stupid, crime," the article identifies the intoxicated passenger as Rick Ehlert, age 44, from Thousand Oaks, California. 

The Smoking Gun website contains an affidavit from a FBI agent who noted that a subsequent review of the ship’s surveillance video showed cruise passenger Ehlert  releasing the anchor around 5:30 in the morning while wearing the same clothing he was photographed in Friday while attending the ship’s formal night. 

Ehlert was arrested on felony charges of attempting to “damage, destroy, disable, or wreck a vessel.”

Its a pity that cruise ships have such poor security with so much alcohol aboard the ships.  How can a single and very drunk passenger release a anchor without anyone noticing?  Doesn’t the security personnel monitor the surveillance cameras?  Shouldn’t the anchor be locked?  I would love to take a look at this passenger’s bar bill and see how much money HAL collected serving Mr. Ehlert booze on the night in question. 

Rick Ehlert - Drunk Passenger Drops Anchor


Article credit:  Smoking Gun

Photo credit:  Gawker

Map credit:  Mail OnLine

  • JKlein

    Under ISPS there are different Security Levels and under Level 1 security can be less stringent.

    Besides that, the question is whether you want that much security on a normal cruise. If you let the terrorist threat be your guide, the terrorists will already have won. It is an illusion that we are able to guard against anything and I believe you should not want to. Not if you want to live in a society where some freedom is left.

  • Rocky

    Stupid is as stupid does!
    He needs the max sentence for being dumb and stupid!
    Hope the cruise line fines and sues him big-time.

  • Johnny

    This incident is very unusual, irregardless of ISPS level passenger is restricted on that area. He must know about ship as he was able to released the anchor. The ship should be liable too. P&I and H&M should not pay any claim on this one, if any

  • Toniann

    I hate to admit (and only because no one was hurt), that this story made me laugh a little. One because of how ignorant this man was and two because he ACTUALLY got away with doing it. How is it possible that the ship didnt have this area monitored? How did this animal acutally know how to do this? Sounds insanely ridculous but mildly humorous to me.