Man Arrested for Dropping Cruise Ship Anchor

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80 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
Oh wow... I'm glad these areas are locked and secured. Not.

I admit I may do reckless things when I'm intoxicated, but I think I would know better than to drop a ship anchor! What was he thinking?
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December 2009 - Crown Princess
December 2008 - Majesty of the Seas
Englewood, FL, USA
3,512 Posts
Joined Feb 2002
Smoking Gun and CC have pretty accurately reported what occurred from a passenger perspective. At about 7:15AM, the Captain announced that the aft anchor had been 'engaged' (meaning exactly what?) by someone at about 5:25AM and that a ring/buoy was tossed from an upper deck at about 5:55AM. I wondered when the bridge became aware of the anchor 'engagement' as the ring toss was nearly half hour later... The Captain indicated that a rescue manuever had been undertaken to retrieve the ring.

The Captain encouraged (ie. demanded) that the responsible party step forward (nada) or general muster and head count would be required; this followed about 15 minutes later (and took about 75-90 minutes).

Mr. Ehlert's name was announced prior to disembark (with others as the time presumed to have payment or other issues). This prompts me to believe or wonder whether he was approached by authorities first at that time (sandbagged for questioning with FBI already onboard) or whether ship security onboard interfaced with him earlier. Obviously, behind the scenes investigation was underway Saturday.

With no disrepect to HAL (I greatly enjoyed the cruise) there were certain systems accessible by passengers that surprised me. Ehlert reportedly entered a restricted area and went to fairly great lengths to undertake his 'criminal mischief' as to the anchor. But in a couple of exterior oriented passageway areas of Ryndam there are fire suppression switches and buttons on multiple exposed electrical boxes that appear to be an open invitation to the irresponsible... Sorry to say that passengers have to be treated like children.

The muster itself was orderly and uneventful. Having represented individuals on criminal charges in Federal District Court (Tampa). I am going to guestimate that this charade will directly cost Mr. Ehlert $50,000 - $100,000 after fines and legal fees are paid (maybe more) regardless of whether formal adjudication (ie. felony conviction) is earned or avoided.
3,795 Posts
Joined May 2000
Originally posted by woodofpine
Having represented individuals on criminal charges in Federal District Court (Tampa). I am going to guestimate that this charade will directly cost Mr. Ehlert $50,000 - $100,000 after fines and legal fees are paid (maybe more) regardless of whether formal adjudication (ie. felony conviction) is earned or avoided.

I'm not an attorney, but I'm guessing that whoever winds up defending Mr Ehlert will be banging their head on the wall because the accused stated "the anchor system was similar to the one on the 50' boat he owns". In my mind, that demonstrates he possessed knowledge of possible hazards, and still exhibited a blatant disregard for the safety of vessel, crew and passengers.

If this incident went down as reported, then Mr Ehlert deserves whatever he gets. In a marked change from everything else reported on Cruise Critic, I suspect we all agree on this one!
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Happy cruising!

Southern California
37,524 Posts
Joined Oct 2005
And people complain about kids splashing in the pool.

A review of surveillance video identified Rick Ehlert, 44, as the passenger who released the anchor (as well as a life buoy). Manning noted that Ehlert was seen in the surveillance footage wearing the same clothing he was photographed in Friday while attending the ship’s formal night (for men, attire can range from a tuxedo to a jacket and tie).
Apparently classy clothing does not mean a classy person is wearing it.
4 Posts
Joined Nov 2010
here is my first "why" is, why is there not better security in these ships..there are people out their that are always looking to do harm to as many people as they can...My second "why" is why get on a cruise ship to spoil everyones good time..dont blame being drunk for this...because many of us get drunk on cruises...and dont do these kinds of things.
Corinth, TX (near Denton)
116 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
Kinda scary that with just a little bit of knowledge, an anchor can be released just like that. The Ryndam is an older ship...makes me wonder how easy it would be on say, Oasis or Allure...surely newer ships have more sophisticated and protected systems...
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1,345 Posts
Joined Apr 2001
If the offending party was identified through video footage, why muster everybody else?

It should go without saying... what a total moron. And, he's 44 y.o.!!! Not exactly a kid. I hope they throw the book at him. Luckily, nothing bad happened, but the potential damage he could have caused, including loss of life? Unbelieveable...
7,010 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
and wondered what was happening. I did hear a cabin door slam at about 5:30 am and thought it might be a jogger going out. I wonder if he was in a cabin in our area. I wonder as well since they had the video why the muster?
256 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Originally posted by m steve
and wondered what was happening. I did hear a cabin door slam at about 5:30 am and thought it might be a jogger going out. I wonder if he was in a cabin in our area. I wonder as well since they had the video why the muster?
The muster drill was to account for all passengers as the buoy in the water would indicate someone went overboard.
Durham, NC
432 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
My question as to the why:

WHY do you bother going on a cruise ship when you have your own 50ft yacht!? I mean, seriously...

Secondly, as far as the video surveillance goes, I would guess that it took a while before they could identify who the culprit was and watch through all the footage before they could determine that no one went over board. I am sure that would take a lot of time. So, in the meantime, do a muster drill and take a head count to see if the ship really DOES need to take measures in rescuing someone from the ocean.
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Carnival Inspiration from San Juan, PR; Southern Caribbean -- April 1998
Grand Princess from Port Everglades, FL; Western Caribbean -- April 2003
Adventure of the Seas from San Juan, PR; Southern Caribbean -- July 2008
Celebrity Millennium from Whittier, AK; Alaska Southbound -- June 2009
Ryndam from Tampa Bay, FL; Western Caribbean -- January 2010
Carnival Splendor from New York, NY; Bahamas -- May 2013
MSC Divina from Miami, FL; Western Caribbean -- October 2014
5,899 Posts
Joined Sep 2009
I hope he is fined at least 100large, as a retired cop I wonder if cruise ships have hot sheets like we did at every roll call we recieved pixs of suspects and any info. Also can't believe that room was unlocked I hope someone screwed up and forgot to lock it if not pie on the face of whoever. I do know security on NCL walks the corriders of the paxs cabins around bar ending time. Somehow I think they never thought a passenger would go into that area which should be restricted and actually do something, but, with terrorism on everyones mind they should have!
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[font=Arial Black][size=4] 51 & counting. + alot of CTNs cruises !!! [color=blue] 11years living the suite sweet life. YOOOOOOOOOOO 11
27 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
To be honest, restricted areas such as the forward mooring station, engine room and bridge remain secured. The aft mooring deck is one of the few areas that hasn't been secured, and I'm sure that will be rectified in future.
To release this anchor, is a multiple step process, and required removal of several lashings before paying out the anchor.
The point of security is getting ridiculous, can grown adults not be trusted around anything anymore without doing something stupid or injuring themselves and suing everyone involved. What on earth is the world coming to when you have to protect people from their own stupidity in every aspect. The stern anchor doesn't have indications on the bridge on this vessel, unlike the bow. The bridge team would not have been monitoring the CCTV whilst busy on watch at night. But the security on the rounds would have probably been the first to pick up on this, if not reported via front office from passengers being awoken by the noise (point, always report unusual noises to front office, they are always taken seriously).

Quote from my HAL forum post

Regardless his information is inaccurate. The anchor is not a stream anchor. It is in fact a stern anchor, and could not solely hold this vessel on its own. It's generally used to stabilise the ship once the forward anchor has been deployed, keeping the vessel in a single direction preventing the vessel from swinging either due to limited searoom or to maintain a lee during tender operations.

Full deployment of this anchor would unlikely have had severe consequences (although no-one can be sure, as I've never known a situation of the stern anchor being deployed at full sea speed), and would most likely have resulted in the chain parting. With a full deployment it would have been almost impossible to recover onboard, and may have had to been released and buoyed off.

The situation was a lucky escape, in terms of not losing the anchor, and whilst reckless, probably isn't that dangerous alone. The mentality of someone deciding to do this without knowing that, is more worrying.

The anchor will have had 2 forms of lashings on it, before it could have been engaged, consisting of a stopper bar and wire lashings on turnbuckles. So it's not a completely simple and quick procedure to release it. The stern anchor has no bridge controls, and cannot be monitored from the bridge, unlike the forward anchors. The stern anchor is rarely used on these vessels, as it's got a few design flaws which make it difficult to recover.

Hope this helps clarify.
Also, the procedures and actions taken on HAL, are almost identical to those on all other major cruise lines as to security in mooring decks and reaction (mustering for lifebuoy etc).
19 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Can you believe it that a 44 year old adult man would be so stupid and selfish as to endanger three thousand people. MY suggestion...send him to Gitmo for a few years. What a moron!!!
313 Posts
Joined Jun 2009
I read in one of the articles that the guy was on board with his girlfriend. Was it after a dispute that he went out? Probably she did not know his intentions because otherwise she was supposed to inform the staff!!
oregon coast
19 Posts
Joined Feb 2009
The anchor and anchor chain weigh hundreds of tons. This could have been a major event, with significant damage to the ship. Some folks ask how this can happen, there are two things here.

1. Foreign flagged ships do not have to comply with most US Coast Guard requirements, this is a very long story. But that is a factor here. Safety is not a big item.
That rear anchor is accessible to all and it is a hazard for sure.

2. The drunk who did this has demonstrated he knows how to release the anchor (it is easy) and that he can apply his stupidity to many situations, even at sea. He has also shown how drinking at sea and excessive boozing is a big thing and makes big money for the companies. They really push it. We never buy a drink on a cruise.

So, you do not have to agree, but the ship has made a major hazard available, they should be fined. The drunk dummy should do some real jail time and be fined, sell his RV agency and give the money to charity.

Signed: Former Marine Engineer