TAMPA, Fla., March 7 (UPI) -- A federal judge in Florida sentenced a man who drunkenly released the anchor of a moving cruise ship to four months of incarceration.
U.S. District Judge Steven Merryday sentenced Rick Ehlert of California to two months in a federal prison followed by two months of home confinement and three years of probation, The Tampa (Fla.) Tribune reported Wednesday.
Prosecutors said Ehlert had been drinking and had taken a prescription Ambien sleeping pill early Nov. 27, 2010, when he went into a restricted area on the MS Ryndam, a Holland America cruise ship, and released the 18-ton anchor while the boat was traveling between Tampa and Mexico.
"Many people have asked me why I dropped the anchor," Ehlert wrote in an apology letter to the ship's captain. "I believe that I was intrigued by the machinery and curious to see if I could operate it. I do remember trying to stop the anchor once it started moving, but it just kept going faster."
Ehlert was also ordered to pay a $7,500 fine and participate in substance abuse and mental-health counseling.