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Vessel at Risk from Intoxicated Passenger

An intoxicated cruise passenger from California endangered the vessel when allegedly tried to released the anchor on the vessel.

The man was on a Holland America cruise ship en route to Florida at the time. 44-year-old Rick Ehlert apparently gained access to a restricted area, put on work gloves and threw a life buoy overboard. Surveillance video camera recorded the episode. The captain sounded an alarm to gather all passengers.

The incident occurred on the 719 foot vessel MS Ryndam.  The vessel has a capacity of 1750 passengers and crew of 580 and at the time it was on its way from Tampa to Mexico.

The incident has been taken seriously by the Federal Bureau of Investigation who have begin an investigation. Federal agents have already spoken with Ehlert, and he has admitted to his actions. According to him, he was intoxicated at the time of the incident. He has now been arrested on alleged felony charges of attempting to damage a vessel.  If convicted, he could be looking at 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.

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