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. Alan K

    Vessel of Costa Rica in Guatemala’s waters... Doesn't sound like much of a real case, especially if they were targeting sharks. SCREW COSTA RICA! They're the cousins of Somalis.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Trevor

    This is the best news I've read all year

    May 20, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. eddie2010

    This little coward also claim that he "fears for his life" if extradited to Costa Rica. Someone should tell him that Costa Rica is not like Cuba. He'll probably get a slap on the wrist and be sent on his way. But of course he has to try to turn the whole thing into a soap opera.

    May 20, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    Jimbo your an idiot did you even read the whole story. 1 they were doing it illegally off the coast of Guatemala and 2. they were given permission to haul them in for their illegal acts. For the love of everything that is holey people LEARN TO READ!

    May 20, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. walso

    This reckless idiot should have been behind bars years ago. He does nothing but put his naive crew and the crews of legitimate fishing vessels in danger and make conservationalists look like a bunch of quacks. There are better ways of activism/protest than terrorism.

    May 20, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Duh

      They was given sovereign authority fool.

      May 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tom

    He is just loves to be in the spotlight. When you watch Whale Wars you can see he cares nothing for the laws or culture of different countries. The sheep that follow him look like the biggest bunch of losers on the planet. In the meantime it's been reported that he pulls in Millions from donations and speaker fees. Time for him to pay up now....he's an embarrassment to the US.

    May 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bill

    His actions accomplish nothing other than to be a danger to others, including the lives of his crew. In the recent Animal Planet coverage of his Faroe island campaign, 7 days after he and his dumb followers left to have fun elsewhere, the islanders went back to their killing whales for food. He made not one bit of difference at all! Yet, people continue to send him money...those people have got to be dumber than the whales themselves!

    May 20, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sam Cole

    The problem with Capt. Paul Watson is he should have realized that no matter what there are consequences to your actions whether you are in the right or wrong. I support some of the things his group does however when you take aggressive acts towards fisherman some of which live paycheck to paycheck trying to live a decent life. One day he will see what his actions have cost the little guy as well as the big corporations and companies that employ and pay low wages to on top of dealing with people who sometimes have no prospective on their lives

    May 20, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alicia

      Like murdering endangered marine life?..Way to go Sam.

      May 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Roy

    Good grief, there are so many ignorant posts on here I think I'm gonna move on. Learn how to write and spell English, then provide a definitive case for your comments. Must be a lot of PSU graduates on this blog.

    May 20, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Radical117

    Being a Lobbyist does not mean you resort to terrorism to get your point across.

    May 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  11. chris

    It is about time, someone needs to take this captain out of service entirely. He is an enemy of the seas, scuttling and polluting the oceans from sinking his own and whaling ships.

    May 20, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hawaii

      YAWN.
      This man is a hero.
      You are a waste of resources.

      May 20, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hawaii

      My post below was to chris, but came out in the wrong place.

      Same goes for NFL.

      Terrorists? LOL Same thing was said about the Underground Railroad. -Oh well. Just throw that word around when ever there's an Activist, right?

      May 20, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. NFLD Thought

    This man is a menace to society and anyone on the seas. He has no regard for human life only to take their money and live high off the hog.
    Sure he claims to be a vegetarian; ever see him? He has to be the fattest vegan on the planet.
    Send him to Costa Rica and let them take care of him.
    He is no different than a terrorist.

    May 20, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zocotroco

      You are the menace to the society by not preserving our Ecosystem. People like Mr WATSON DO NOT SLAUGHTER sea lions , whales and cut the fins of sharks and throw them back into the sea. When you destroy the Ecosystem and break the natural FOOD CHAIN, you destroy the Planet that we live. Grab a book of Biology and read before you make accusations.

      May 20, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dr. Deena

      But you apparently have no problem with the Costa Rican fishermen who were cutting fins off of live sharks & then dumping them back in the sea??? Just who is the terrorist there? Your entire comment is just totally ridiculous... did you even read the story?

      May 20, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Language

    Alright everyone, when the oceans loose of most of the fish and those ecosystems fall apart then you will see how truly necessary the ocean life is in regards to us on land. I have fished for a living and have watched how fishermen of all nations, if not governed in some way, can wipe out even the most numerous fish stocks within a few years. Americans have already done this to some degree off the grand banks. The crab fisheries in Alaska have had those stocks depleted for more than a quarter century. The shores off some of South America have had whole fisheries die out because of over fishing. You might think that farm fish will offset some of these lost fisheries but they do not even come close and in some countries, they foul the waters with fish farms so much that they have to move them over to the next bay. You see his actions but you have not a clue how destructive all of these other fishermen have been and continue to be. Look at Somalia and their fishermen. Once their government fell apart you had, fishermen come in and wipe out much of what those fishermen use to fish. Now they can only be pirates to make a living. Not saying that is good but did any nation come in and try to protect their fisheries while they fishermen from other nations stole most of the catch. Other nations steal around 300 million dollars of catch and no one looks to see if they are wiping out what is there. Most fishermen will fish until there is nothing left to fish and then they will leave. They only care about the next catch not the next year. I am sorry but as long as the illegal and overfishing is brought to light to the rest of the world I say do it!

    May 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sunshine100

      Thank you, "Language" for your insight. Cowards stay silent while the brave raise their voices. You are one of the brave.

      May 20, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hawaii

      Language, Here! Here!
      I was raised by commercial fisherman, just about all I ate growing up came from the ocean. I am self-restricting now, a personal sacrifice, due to this crisis.

      May 20, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • truth1063

      This man should have been put in prison years ago. It is only a matter of time now.

      May 20, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. louisrichards

    Ocean Warrior came upon a "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."

    How is that "piracy", Einstein? Learn to Read & COMPREHEND before you open your ignoarant mouth!

    May 20, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • chris

      Read your history on the SSCS, they are pirates. Terrorizing the sea in the name of saving the earth. Yet regardless of what exactly happened in 2002, they have since before their inception have acted on their own, sank ships, as well hijacked (through means of boarding and making way to sail impossible) throughout their existance. They are nothing but cowardly sea destroying pirates.

      May 20, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sagebrush Shorty

    He will be blubbering soon.

    May 20, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
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