Dropping Anchor: American Releases Anchor on Cruise Ship in Drunken Gag

Rick Ehlert, 44, wanted a memorable cruise on the Holland America MS Ryndam and he certainly got it. The Californian is facing both criminal and civil liability after he reportedly dropped the anchor of the cruise ship and deployed a life bouy.

Police say that Ehlert admitted to being drunk at the time and that he succeeded in carrying out a series of steps to drop the anchor while the ship was in motion. The result was “significant damage to the ship’s rudder or propeller, which could disable the ship’s ability to maneuver, or puncturing of the ship, which could result in sinking or severe flooding.” I guess a snapshot on the bow was not enough as a keepsake.

Ehlert was captured on surveillance tape as he figured out how to drop the anchor.

He has been charged with a felony and will also likely face a civil lawsuit from the company.

Source: CNN

21 thoughts on “Dropping Anchor: American Releases Anchor on Cruise Ship in Drunken Gag

  1. It probably had those handy language-free illustrations on it.

    Button 1: LOCK SYMBOL


    This reminds me a of classic Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy moment when Arthur Dent and his travelling companion arrive in a futuristic spaceship;

    Dent: This is my idea of spaceship! I wonder what happens if I
    press this button?

    Ford: I wouldn’t! (Arthur presses it).

    Ford: What happened?

    Dent: I sign lit up saying “Please do not press this button again!”

  2. Why would something as critical to ship operations like anchor controls be where a passenger could get at them in the first place?

  3. @ BIL

    Because the “No Passenger Access” velvet rope cordon wasn’t put up.

    Lucky he didn’t discover the fire/flood control panel sealed off by “Don’t Touch, Please” post-it-notes.

  4. Pete,

    Well that certainly explains it. Velvet ropes are notorious slackers. They don’t always stick around dutifully like trusty post-it notes.

  5. And a Lucky man he was….There was NO DAMAGE. They charged him with Attempt and that was all….Now as to civil liability…the damages are speculative….He did enter an area marked off limits to passengers…I can see how he could do that..he will be stuck with that charge I am sure and probably banned from any other travel under the Holland American Banner…He is lucky that he did not become shark bait, learn how to swim with weights or float until he bloats….

  6. I think the cruise company will be reviewing its security policies after this stupid episode. Hey, he thought he was on a bus and he pulled the rope to alert the driver/Captain that is stop was next! One expensive gag!

  7. Were I captain of that ship, there would be another object hitting the water shortly after the anchor, followed by the furtive cry of, “Fool Overboard!”

  8. If this guy could do this much damage while drunk, maybe we can get him to join the Navy Seals. His talents are clearly wasted on pranks.

  9. “Why would something as critical to ship operations like anchor controls be where a passenger could get at them in the first place?”

    I suspect when they spent their millions on ship design, making every moving part ‘American’ proof’ wasn’t a discussion that came up.

  10. PatricParamedic 1, December 1, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    “Why would something as critical to ship operations like anchor controls be where a passenger could get at them in the first place?”

    That’s a great question PatricP.

    CNN does not give all the details obviously, but I question why the CFC (cops for corporations) — I’m sorry I meant the FBI was involved at all. The cruise ship industry has an astronomical number of rapes robberies assaults and homicides each year. The US and world governments refuse to investigate these crimes, because they happen in international waters. Did that happen in this case? Or was it a case of one human being showing the weakness of a billion dollar outfit and I understand there was no real damage to the vessel or crew. You would think that HAL would want to keep this quiet.

  11. From the link at the end of this comment:

    “According to investigators, Ehlert admitted the offence claiming he was drunk at the time. He also explained that the liner’s anchor system was similar to that of his own 50ft boat.”

    There’s a picture of the guy…. who donned “work gloves”, in the process…

    Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1334384/Cruise-passenger-Ryan-Ehlert-drops-anchor-middle-Gulf-Mexico.html#ixzz16tY1mxuD

    Thanks for the numerous, humorous commments… :-)

  12. I’m inclined to agree with Bud, but who knows… Something about it doesn’t seem quite right, but it might just be the case of a drunk guy releasing an anchor…

    Could he have been so drunk that he thought he was on his own boat???

  13. Could he have been so drunk that he thought he was on his own boat???

    Yeah sure… But he must have one hell of an impressive 50 foot boat…

  14. Bud,

    I know. As I said, something doesn’t seem right about it.

    Insightful comment on your part, IMO… referring to your comment at 3:44 pm

  15. As someone who spends his day investigating goofy doctors, I’m surprised to learn this particular mental midget wasn’t an MD. – it sounds so much like the kinds of cases that pour into my office on a weekly basis, i.e.:


    We are, I regret to say, rapidly morphing into the laughing stock of the rest of the decorum-respectful citizens of planet earth, in our never-ending “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” egomaniacal traveling roadshow. The only real surprise here is that this nut with a suitcase didn’t stop to video tape his lunacy.

    50 years ago, a book called “The Ugly American” was written. The subject? Nasty U.S. behavior overseas. Every American high schooler should be required to memorize it.

    In the meantime, in a parallel universe, Holland Cruise Lines would be legally allowed to drag this seed-for-brains nutcase behind the ship for shark bait. But of course they won’t happen here, so this miscreant will go on to spawn still more of his misfit genes.

    As an EMS type for years, I used to wonder if anybody ever noticed the inherent flaw in our tolerating rotten human behavior – as a species? An essential premise in Darwin’s studies was that, “organisms of all species which display unfavorable phenotypes (traits) tend not to survive” over the long-term. But we as prescient humans are the only life-forms to contradict nature, thereby almost ensuring our long-term social demise, by tolerating the mental midgets among us.

    As my Iowa farmer Dad used to say, Lord, love a duck.

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