updated 11/30/2010 10:03:49 AM ET 2010-11-30T15:03:49

The FBI says a California man who says he was drunk dropped anchor on a moving cruise ship.

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According to an FBI affidavit posted Monday on The Smoking Gun website, 44-year-old passenger Rick Ehlert entered a restricted area, put on work gloves and released the rear anchor on Holland America's MS Ryndam. It was heading from Costa Maya, Mexico, to Tampa.

Ehlert is in custody and faces federal charges of attempting to damage a vessel and endangering a ship's safe navigation. The ship was not damaged Saturday. But the FBI says the anchor could have punctured the ship and caused it to sink or severely flood.

The FBI says Ehlert acknowledged releasing the anchor and throwing a life buoy overboard.

The affidavit says Ehlert explained that the anchor system was similar to that on his 50-foot boat.

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