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. TERI


    May 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Joe black

    This guy deserves to go to jail.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rico

    For someone who's handle is "truthwillsetyoufree" you're obviously bound to ignorance.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • waldopg3


      May 18, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ANDY B

    yeah. sharks have never been hunted before. survival of the fittest boo

    May 18, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric D'Andrea

      Ironically, Andy, it will be survival of the smallest and sneakiest. Ultimately, a virus like Ebola will spread all over the world because we humans can't stop pillaging nature for a profit. Ebola is 50 to 90% fatal. Chew on that while you beat your chest.

      May 19, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric D'Andrea

      Ironically, Andy, it will be survival of the smallest and sneakiest. Ultimately, a virus like Ebola will spread all over the world because we humans can't stop pillaging nature for a profit. Ebola is 50 to 90% fatal. Chew on that while you beat your chest

      May 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bernard Bersinski

      @andy: Ironically, Andy, it will be survival of the smallest and sneakiest. Ultimately, a virus like Ebola will spread all over the world because we humans can't stop pillaging nature for a profit. Ebola is 50 to 90% fatal to humans. Chew on that while you beat your chest, because sometimes the smallest of God's creatures is also the most lethal.

      May 19, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Language

      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 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • i12bphil

      Never heard of "finning" before, have you? The statistics are there. For every one shark that bites a human, we kill one million of them. Look it up.

      May 20, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • robert

      Before quoting evolution sound bites you should take more than a few seconds to understand how it works. This has nothing to do with evolution and neither of the species involved will benefit from the event. It doesn't help sharks adapt to their environments and doesn't help humans with theirs. Now if more ignorant people such as yourself took themselves out of the gene pool, humanity and all other living things on the planet would benefit substancially.

      May 20, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Kam

    Reading some of these comments make me laugh. As a war veteran I am shocked that some people consider spraying water on a ship, breaking international laws, violence. A terrorist? Ha.... Very funny. Get real people.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bob Neitz

    This fool is no better than a Somali pirate. Hang him from the yardarm, put his body in a gibbet and let it be eaten by crows.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • IAMBeowolf

      cool. glad to hear you have nothing to do with this since you are so wrong

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

      You are the fool... he didn't commit any act of piracy. Read the definition of it. He may be guilty of serious harassment, but it's not piracy. Piracy would mean he commandeered a ship, held it's crew hostage for ransom (or worse), plundered the goods on board, and sometimes even scuttled the ship.

      C'mon now... if you are going to comment, at least comment with some logic.

      May 20, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. VinceRN

    Whatever his motivations, the man is a pirate. He routinely breaks the law and should be willing to accept the consequences of that. He frequently puts the lives of others in danger and does millions of dollars worth of damage to the private property of others. Why he does this should place him, or anyone, above the law.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Again as I already mentioned, he isn't guilty of piracy. He IS guilty of a lot of things, but piracy isn't one of them. He didn't hijack any ship to keep it, nor did he plunder the goods on board for personal gain.

      May 20, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Wade N Ginger N Eastman Georgia

    Although I don't agree with ( EVERYTHING ) Paul Watson and his Rainbow Warrior's do, I do feel that we as Human Beings really DO NEED to put some sort of Rules in place to regulate the number or amount of Whales that NOT ONLY the Japanese kill as part of their ( SO CALLED ) RESEARCH??? I think when doing ( RESEARCH ) No more than one or Two whales would be needed,NOT DOZENS. So In a way I think what Paul and his Warriors are doing is Needed, Best of luck with your Legal fight Paul and to all of the Rainbow Warriors and the Steve Irwin Crew as well.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ANDY B

    i love when the hippies cry its about money. see how much this punk makes 'fundraising,' wiht the sole intent on imposing their wills on others to live like them with no regard for the law. hang him

    May 18, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Domesticated Primate

      Shill? Troll? Both?

      May 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. common sense

    This guy is a terrorist and should be treated as such.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane Daly

      This guy has courage and you could learn something from him!!!!!!

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

    Agreed. Let HIM be the martyr.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  12. George

    An assault is still an assault, even if the perpitrator is unsuccesful an no one gets hurt. This guy is a vigilante who takes it upon himself to be judge, jury, and executioner. There is no room for his kind in society.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  13. fastnoc

    That 'fast' boat hits a whopping 21 knots. Cruise liners do 21 knots. it's such a crock. it looks like it's built to be aerodynamic, but it's shape is designed to slice waves. it can hadle high seas... slowly

    May 18, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yeti

      Yup. That vessel is a complete waste of money. I cringe whenever I see it.

      May 22, 2012 at 12:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. PTC Bernie

    These people have crossed the line from good intentions to ignoring the law and losing touch with reality. Anyone else boarding a ship in the middle of the night on the open ocean would be shot as pirates. How are these people any different in their methods lately?

    May 18, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane Daly

      That is what they said about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln................MEN OF COURAGE!!!

      May 18, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. juju

    The Japanese whaling is overkill... The Japanese whalers have a set quota every season, and they claim that all of their whaling is in the name of research... since 1985 ICR has caught and killed almost 20,000 whales.. 75% of their catch coming from the southern hemisphere in sanctuary waters... yet they claim it is for research..... yeah its called junk science in which many international scientists have proven... While i believe in the efforts of what Watson and the Sea Shepherds are doing to protect marine life, they are doing a better job than most animal rights group... Most animal rights groups have lobbyists and the government up their butts... the Sea Shepherds have governments against them.

    May 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
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