Bail set for 'Whale Wars' star in extradition fight
Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson faces charges in Costa Rica stemming from a sea confrontation in 2002.
May 18th, 2012
02:54 PM ET

Bail set for 'Whale Wars' star in extradition fight

The German justice system will entertain a Costa Rican request to extradite controversial Sea Shepherd conservationist and "Whale Wars" star Paul Watson, but he can post bail while the matter is considered, a Frankfurt court ruled Friday.

Bail for Watson - who faces what his organization and attorney allege are politically motivated charges over a 2002 confrontation at sea with Costa Rican fishermen - was set at 250,000 euro ($318,000), Frankfurt high regional court spokesman Ingo Nohre said.

Watson, 61, intends to post it Monday, his group said.

Watson, whose attempts to disrupt Japanese whalers at sea gained fame through Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” TV show, was detained last weekend at the Frankfurt airport after Costa Rica issued an international request for this arrest.

Costa Rican authorities allege that Watson’s crew aboard Sea Shepherd’s Ocean Warrior ship endangered a Costa Rican fishing vessel during a confrontation off Guatemala’s coast, according to the Frankfurt court.

The court ruled Friday that Germany will consider the request, and that Costa Rica will have 90 days to make its case. The German Ministry of Justice then will decide whether to extradite Watson.

The U.S.-based Sea Shepherd, which denies the allegations, has urged supporters through its website and social media to write to German officials, arguing that the charges have less to do with law than with Watson’s anti-conservationist enemies, and that it doubts he would get a fair trial.

“As Sea Shepherd becomes increasingly more effective at protecting marine wildlife globally, the enemies of the oceans are using all of their resources to stop us,” the group said in a statement. “…  (The extradition request) we believe stems from Sea Shepherd victories in curbing shark finning on the high seas.”

Thousands appear to have written to German officials so far, Sea Shepherd ship operations officer Peter Hammarstedt said, citing anecdotal evidence, including supportive e-mails the group received.

Hammarstedt said the Ocean Warrior found the Costa Rican crew killing sharks for their fins in Guatemalan waters in 2002, and it initially had permission from Guatemalan authorities to stop it and tow the vessel into port.

The Ocean Warrior used water cannons on the fishing vessel in an effort to stop it, but “there were no injuries and no physical damage to any ship,” Hammarstedt said.

The Ocean Warrior succeeded in stopping the ship, but Guatemalan authorities eventually asked Watson to release it, Hammarstedt said.

The confrontation is detailed in part of a 2007 documentary, “Sharkwater,” Hammarstedt said.

soundoff (535 Responses)
  1. Mike

    Killing sharks for their fins is a disgusting source of profit robbing our oceans of these wonderful creatures. Just wait until all the sharks are killed, and our oceans become depleted of the top predator. Hope the bowl of soup is worth it morons!
    And the wonderful whales, who share language and emotions, it is a very sad world.
    In another 100 years, when CO2 poisons the air, water and extincts all mammals on this planet. It shall be humans payback for profit from destroying the planet and the wonderful creatures who exist.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pam

    I recently saw an episode where they were trying to stop people from killing whales that aren't even endangered. These people are terrorists and while something needed to be done to keep certain types of whales from becoming extinct, they have gone way overboard (no pun intended). Whales eat fish, too many whales will disrupt the natural order of things. Some people depend on fish for food.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      You really should educate yourself prior to making comments, yes Killer Whales eat fish but the big whales in the souther oceans actually eat plankton and krill.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mitch VanDerlandt

    I will boycott Germany and Costa Rica if Paul Watson is not freed. He is fighting for our oceans. Go after the banks who are stealing everyone's money. Leave Watson alone.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Qwe

      I'm sure they're very worried by that prospect....

      May 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • mensaboy

      Paul Watson should be made to walk the plank.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MatsuValleyGal

    What is the matter with these people making these negative remarks about a hero? This is a true hero in my book. I only wish my kids would turn out with such a commitment to saving our planet for future generations. I guess the right wing nuts are at it again with their stupidity, greed, and big mouths. I once attended attended a "'save the planet" conference and had women running into my legs with their baby strollers. Their kids were freaked out that their mothers would be so violent and forcing them to be the weapon. That's why I say these negative folks are scarey! They're nuts!

    May 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Miami Mike

    As a conservationist I can respect what Paul Watson is trying to do however his methods are akin to terrorism. He puts the lives of himself and his crew at stake for what I believe is more of ego boost than concern for the species. The way to prevent whaling, finning, etc. is to educate the consumers of the product, not to go ram your boat against a ship, board the vessel and almost kill everyone in the process.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toots

      Mike: He is NOT a terrorist. Stop brandishing that word like a sword. You sound like a TSA agent.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jt_flyer

    There wasn't one intelligent comment to be found here. You'd think by coincidence there would be something of value. But sadly no. This will do nothing more than give their cause more attention and more money. I hope they win.

    May 18, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Toots

    Hey Germany, who the heck invited you to the party? Haven't you learned to keep your nose out of things that are NOT your business?

    May 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dizzyd

    All of you ppl defending the whalers et al (those POOR souls trying to make a living killing animals indiscriminately!) don't realize that if not for ppl like Paul, we wouldn't have a planet 'cuz it would long ago have been trashed. Try actually paying attention next time you watch it.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Angela

    beautiful? umm no, its disgusting, but so is slaughtering any animal. Its a dirty job. But they have to eat and I get that so they need to find more humane ways of doing it. However, don't call it beautiful, that's just wrong.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Vic

    It is sickening and heartbreaking to read people's comments here. How can you wish Paul Watson harm? He is like an angel protecting ocean's beings against sensless brutality. Oh people, I cannot beleive your consciousness is still at a low level. It is so sad, so sad.... Makes me want to cry...

    May 18, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toots

      @Vic: Don't worry, there are many more of us who do support him than these blog potatoes who are filled with hatred and feel the need to lash out at those trying to make a difference because their own lives are so pointless. Paul Watson will be freed!

      May 18, 2012 at 11:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. no nothing

    Wow, how do I get a ticket for that cruise? Disrupting over-fhising, water cannons, cool. Anything to say to the rest of the animal kingdom that "we're sorry",. Before they all rise-up and kill us all.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:25 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hikertom

    Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Society have never killed anyone. They are using non-violent confrontation to stop the destruction of our marine environment. He is accused of using water cannons to stop shark finning. People who cut the fins of living sharks and then throw them back in the ocean deserve a lot worse than that.

    The world needs more people like Paul Watson. I am going to send a contribution to the Sea Shepherd Society.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Tactics they are using is violent...if someone tried to foul my prop in the middle of the ocean, I would shoot them and leave them floating for the sharks to feast on...just sayin

      May 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Delia

      That's what I did. You can use PayPal. Let's help Paul Watson save our oceans for our children and grandchildren.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Percival

      @JD, you are filled with hate. Deep down you hate yourself and are projecting. Perhaps some good works would make you feel differently about yourself and those who do their best to save this world from industrialists who would steal the clothes off their mothers' backs for profit.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Toots

      JD: Beware of what you wish for other people because fate loves to play practical jokes. On the other hand, you'd probably make a shark puke.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Danny Sandoval

      JD? Such a big man. Makes all kinds of threats, but too much of a coward to put his real name on the post. Oh yeah, you have some big cojones there, Bro.

      May 19, 2012 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  13. Jerry Pelletier

    This man is a terrorist...pure and simple!

    May 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Percival

      @Jerry. He's not a terrorist. You are wrong and you are brainwashed. I wish you luck.

      May 18, 2012 at 11:39 pm | Report abuse |
  14. combatkelly

    Who does this twerp think he is anyway. Feed him to the fishes.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  15. combatkelly

    Never ceases to amaze me how the same people who cry over a whale and denigrate a fisherman applaud abortions and venerate the baby k i l l e r doctors.

    May 18, 2012 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • no nothing

      OH boy here we go.....

      May 18, 2012 at 11:35 pm | Report abuse |
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