Last November, Cruise Law News (CLN) reported on the drunken cruise ship passenger who reportedly snuck into the control room and dropped anchor while the ship was sailing back to Tampa from Mexico.

Daniel Castillo, Ehlert’s defense attorney now claims that Rick Ehlert admits to being intoxicated and sneaking into the control room to drop the M/S Ryndam’s anchor; however, what his client did was not a crime.

Castillo claims that while his client was certainly acting stupid, Mr. Ehlert did not commit a federal crime. Castillo says that no persons were injured or property damaged as a result of his client’s stupidity. Ehlert admits to being drunk around 5:30 a.m. when he stumbled into the control room and released the anchor while the cruise ship was out at sea.

Ehlert was arrested on felony charges for attempting to “damage, destroy, disable, or wreck a vessel.” However, according to Tampa Bay Online, Castillo stated that his client is only “guilty of felony stupidity.” 

While the charges Ehlert faced could have placed him in jail for 20 years, Castillo reported that prosecutors have told him to expect some form of probationary period for his client.  

Who is to blame? The passenger for getting wankered and pulling a not-so-funny prank? Or the cruise line for continuously pushing alcohol and failing to monitor and/or lock the control room? Should Rick Ehlert be sentenced to more than probation? Should he have to serve time?

Photo credit: Gawker

  • Gabs

    The “nobody was hurt so it’s not a crime” excuse doesn’t fly. Attempted murder is a crime where no one’s necessarily hurt either. What he did could potentially have caused a lot of damage and harm. That it didn’t is mere luck on his part.

    It was stupid, REALLY stupid and he deserves to be punished for that, but the spotlight should also be on HAL. What policy changes are they enforcing so that this doesn’t happen again?

  • anonymous

    So when I get drunk and drive, is that not illegal?
    If I get drunk and shoot a gun in the air, is that not illegal?
    Come on, get real…

  • Rick

    Come on he was drunk. Take it easy on him. Suspend the twenty years if he forfeits his 50 foot boat ( make sure it is paid for) and prohibit him from owning or riding in a pleasure craft of any kind for ten years, otherwise he serves the whole twenty. I am tired of twits making life hard for the rest of us.

  • anonymous too

    To Rick —

    Making it hard on the rest of “us”? I assume you mean you and others who drink to stupefaction and then perform illegal acts?

    Who was it that decided to keep drinking alcohol?

    I’m SO tired of people choosing to consume alcohol or other drugs to the point where they are no longer in control of themselves, then blame the incident on their drug-induced state, or the entity that served them, or the envoriment not being made drunken-idiot proof.

    If one is prone to doing stupid things while drunk, that person should take the initiative to not get hammered in an unsafe environment rather than expecting everyone else to become their nanny/nursemaid/guardian.

    It should be as it once was — if you’re over 18 and decide to commit a crime, it’s YOUR FAULT an no one else’s. Drunken stupidity should not be a mitigating circumstance.


  • Shannon Weckhurst

    He should get life in prison! Not the first idiot maneuver this
    Man has ever done by far. He’s gotten away with murder all his life. That’s how this man gets his kicks by seeing how far he can go with out getting in trouble. I know of at least 5 other “pranks” this man has gotten away with. It’s time to pay the piper fry him while you can !