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. MotherEarth

    Best news I've had all day. What a freak!

    May 18, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ludwig

      @MotherEarth? Go fart in someone else's elevator, would you?

      May 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Mr Cow

    Please eat more whale and sushi! No one cares about us Cows....he who lives in a beef house cast the first bone!

    Eat More Chicken; Eat more Tofu; Eat More Insects; Eat More Fish; Eat more Whales.....Leave us Cows alone.


    May 18, 2012 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • SanFrancisco

      @Mr. Cow: Good one.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • south4evr

      Eat Paul Watson!!!!

      May 18, 2012 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ludwig

    Boycott Germany. Boycott German products. Boycott German vacations. Germany, SHAME ON YOU! You screwed up big time once. Don't mess it up again. Stay out of things that are NONE of your business.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GoSS!

    For someone who dislikes Paul Watson, a few of you seem to spend a lot of time on here talking about him. I mean, how pathetic is your life that you spend all day posting comments on here about your hate towards him? Do you honestly have nothing better to do?!

    May 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Qwe

      "Go SS"...
      -how fitting...

      May 18, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ludwig

    Costa Rica: Drop this nonsense, trumped up charge. Just leave it alone. And Germany, mind your own business. You are not wanted – believe it or not.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Qwe

      Your obese hero shouldn't have broken the law- if he wants to play Eco-terrorist he needs to pay the consequences.
      But dont worry, I'm sure there's an amigo named Jesus in Costa Rica who's going to need his socks washed and his feet rubbed(who knows, Paul probably likes that sort of thing)...

      May 18, 2012 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sea Shepherd Forever

      @QWE: Obese hero? Is that necessary? When you call someone names, you inadvertently give others permission to do the same to you. Hatred breeds hate. Ignorance breeds ignorance. Open a book. Read something. Come to these forums with intelligent comments and insights, not vapid stupidity.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave Kelly

    All I can say is he is such a idiot

    May 18, 2012 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Porter

    FREE PAUL WATSON! Auf Wiedersehen, Deutschland!

    May 18, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. south4evr

    This idiot should be jailed as a pirate and his ships should be sunk by appropriate naval forces around the world for interferring with legal commerce and hazarding free navigation of international waters.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jay

    Paul Watson is a hero and life saver!!
    Free Paul Watson!!

    I did volunteer work for Sea Shepherd when I was young and still lived in California.
    Also, donated funds and some items that were on their wish list.

    Set him free Germany. It would be the right thing to do. God bless all of them.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sea Shepherd Forever

      @Jay: Good for you. Trying to rid the world of avaricious billionaires who would destroy the earth is among the noblest of callings. Let us hope Germany sees the wisdom of releasing Paul Watson. Even better, let us hope that the thugs in Costa Rica (the minority, I'm sure) stop poaching sharks and drop all charges against Watson.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
  10. WDinDallas

    He is just a common Terrorist.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Porter

      @dallas: Dallas. Why am I NOT surprised.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jay


    I have some news for you, if those people Sea Shepherd, were not breaking international laws,
    then they would not get in anyones way in the first place.

    The best way to make Sea Shepherd go away, is to get the international community to stop
    violating international law in the first place.

    Enough said.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • UhYeaOk

      I guess you didn't read the part where it said the countries officials asked the Sea Shepherd to intervene.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. WDinDallas

    @ Porter: Ignorant comment

    May 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sea Shepherd Forever

      Ignorance breeds ignorance. As the computer geeks say, Garbage In, Garbage Out. Think before you speak, Mr. Dallas, and perhaps you will get more intelligent replies.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Darkmatter

    If you are going to sail under your own flag and conduct operations that disrupt the lawful shipping/fishing of another country's flagged ship in the interests of another while taking any kind of compensation, you are a privateer. aka pirate. If the pirates in Somolia are going to be shut down, then so should this guy.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • J R Brown

      A privateer is a person operating under the color of the authority of a country...these guys are just pirates.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
  14. J R Brown

    These people are pirates and terrorists on the high seas. They SHOULD be prosecuted whenever/wherever possible. They harass, assault and even board other ships under no authority of law...they are criminals.

    I occasionally watch the show for no other reason that hoping one of those ships they are harassing just outright sinks them in the middle of the ocean.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sea Shepherd Forever

      In other words, you watch the show for the wrong reason. It never seems to occur to people such as yourself that Paul Wilson and his Sea Shepherd crew are fighting an uphill battle to save the oceans for your children and grandchildren. The level of greed in this world will one day destroy it. But, all you can do is wait until someone gets arrested. What happened to the U.S. being one of the most highly educated countries on earth? You REALLY need to get away from the television and do some reading, My Friend.

      May 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • blessedgeek

      The human race are pirates taking what we can. Denying that our excessive activities and our worship of the golden calf of materialism is causing harm to the planet.

      May 18, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MaritimeExpert

    Paul Watson needs a haircut. And to see a dentist. Have Bob Barker pay for it.

    May 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
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