THOUSAND OAKS (CBS) — A Conejo Valley business owner will serve four months in prison and three years of probation for releasing the anchor on a commercial cruise liner while in international waters.

Rick Ehlert, 45, of Thousand Oaks, was also ordered by U.S. District Judge Steven D. Merryday to pay a $7,500 fine as well as undergo drug and mental health counseling for the drunken prank aboard a Holland America ship as it returned to Tampa, Fla., from Mexico in November of 2010.

Ehlert, who owns a recreational vehicle dealership in Thousand Oaks, pleaded guilty last year for his role in nearly bringing the cruise ship to a sudden stop when he the 18-ton stern anchor was dropped off the MS Ryndam in a move that prosecutors said “could have caused significant damage”.

The prank ended up delaying the ship by three hours and possibly threatened the 1260 passengers and 580 crew members on board as it returned from Costa Maya in Mexico.

Ehlert later confessed to agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and was subsequently taken into custody.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (12)
  1. rich says:

    ok my question is this the thing is clearly to heavy for him to pick up and toss, so that means there is some sort of lever for him to have used to release the anchor. that being noted WHY IS THERE A LEVER TO RELEASE THE ANCHOR WHERE A PASSANGER CAN REACH AND USE IT???

    1. T.D says:

      “He was arrested after admitting he entered a restricted area and released the ship’s rear anchor”,0,5780115.story

      1. rich says:

        that is worse lol if he was able to get into a RESTRICTED area that means someone need to work on ship security

    2. PatricParamedic says:

      Pretty near impossible to make a cruise ship idiot proof.

      But thanks to chimps on chocolate like this mental midget, the laws and rules and regulations and signs, will just keep adding up until we won’t be able to see anything else.

      Just tie this bird-brain to another anchor and let someone else flip the switch.

      Just makes you proud to be an American, doesn’t it?

      1. rich says:

        ya the guy was real bright but i still do not understand why the lever is someplace the guy was able to get to should not something like that be in a locked room or something that only can be accessed by the crew?

  2. Whipped says:

    I threw 18 tons just the other day. Well… dropped it I guess I should say. I mean it was the ex….wife. She was kinda heavy…. umm. Nevermind.

  3. Simeon Namore says:

    He “threw” an 18-ton anchor? Wow. I could barely pick up that much..
    Ok, all you salts at CBS–you don’t “throw’ the anchor–you drop it. When it’s time to go you ‘weigh anchor.’

  4. SE says:

    A anchor dropped while a 55000 GTon ship is at cruise speed would not bring it to a sudden stop, worst thing that could have happened is the chain would have snapped and some damage around the anchor site.

    1. rich says:

      could it not have punched a hole in the ship thus sinking it? i mean it seems to me a heavy anchor could swing at cruise speed and pop one or more holes in a ship and that could get real ugly

  5. Slam1263 says:

    I don’t understand why Mark Harmin would do such a thing.

    Crusing to Mexico is so ’90s.

  6. YeaItsMeAgain says:

    So, lets add this to the list of things to check on the next cruise ship run; 1. Stay away from the rock on the shore line, 2. Does everyone have their shots for all of the virus’ known to mankind, 3. Is the wife still on board after going thru the Bermuda Triangle?, 4. Can drunken shipmates get to the Anchor release??

  7. Donald says:

    Can’t fix dumb ass…

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