Interpol issues wanted notice for ‘Whale Wars’ star
Paul Watson, seen here speaking to reporters in Berlin in May, skipped bail last month.
August 9th, 2012
12:51 PM ET

Interpol issues wanted notice for ‘Whale Wars’ star

Interpol has issued an international wanted notice for conservationist and “Whale Wars” TV star Paul Watson, days after he skipped bail in Germany as Costa Rica tried to have him extradited.

Watson was arrested at Germany’s Frankfurt airport on May 13 on an arrest warrant issued by Costa Rica, which accuses him of endangering a fishing vessel off the coast of Guatemala in 2002.

He posted roughly $302,000 bail and was ordered to remain in Germany as it considered Costa Rica’s extradition request, but he stopped reporting to authorities on July 22, a German court said. Watson left Germany and forfeited his bail, according to his Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which isn’t revealing his location.

“Following confirmation from German authorities that Paul Watson had failed to satisfy the bail conditions established by the German courts and had fled the country, Costa Rican authorities renewed their request” for Interpol to issue an international wanted notice for Watson, which Interpol did Tuesday, Interpol said.

Costa Rican authorities allege that Watson - whose attempts to disrupt Japanese whalers at sea gained him fame on Animal Planet’s “Whale Wars” TV show - and his crew aboard Sea Shepherd’s Ocean Warrior ship endangered a Costa Rican fishing vessel during a confrontation off Guatemala’s coast.

The U.S.-based Sea Shepherd denies the allegations, arguing that the charges have less to do with law than with Watson’s anti-conservationist enemies.

In the 2002 incident, according to Sea Shepherd ship operations officer Peter Hammarstedt, the Ocean Warrior found a Costa Rican crew killing sharks for their fins in Guatemalan waters. The Ocean Warrior initially had permission from Guatemalan authorities to stop it and tow the vessel into port, he said.

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

The Ocean Warrior did stop 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.

Shark finning is the practice of cutting the fins off sharks and throwing the sharks back into the sea, where they die. The fins are used for expensive soup, mostly in China.

The current charge, according to Interpol, is “causing a danger of drowning or of an air disaster.”

Sea Shepherd says that “anyone who’s viewed the documentary can clearly see the charges are bogus.”

“The water cannon Captain Watson allegedly used to stop the illegal shark finners never reached the wheelhouse, thereby having no possibility of interfering with their safe navigation, nor were there any aircraft overhead at the time so as to potentially cause an ‘air disaster,’” Sea Shepherd said in a statement issued Wednesday.

Interpol’s wanted notices, called red notices, are sent to police agencies across the world, but they are not arrest warrants.

“Each of Interpol’s 190 member countries must apply their national laws and standards in determining whether it may detain or arrest the wanted person,” Interpol says.

May 2012: Bail set for ‘Whale Wars’ star in extradition fight

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Filed under: Costa Rica • Courts • Crime • Environment • Germany • Justice • Nature
soundoff (451 Responses)
  1. marlou ordelt

    Ewww. Whats wrong with his picture?

    August 14, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eukannt Avmai Adey

      What's wrong with his picture? Nothing, that's what he looks like.

      August 15, 2012 at 12:09 am | Report abuse |
  2. aj

    Bout time the terrorist liberal groups face the law. ELF, PETA, I'm looking at you.

    August 14, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. davisneilp

    He ought to be doing time for that rug, eeesh

    August 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. realist

    Paul Watson is a coward. He is quick to put crew members ' lives in danger but when he is facing charges(legit or not) he runs away. What an embarassment.

    August 16, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chris

    Paul "Humans are a virus" Watson says that humans are a cancer on the earth. He advocates returning humankind back into the stone age, regulating who may or may not have children. "No human community should be larger than 20,000 people and separated from other communities by wilderness areas." the nutjob says. Well I say all of you who support this maniac and his genocidal aspirations kindly end your own lives first before you come after any of ours. "People should be placed in parks within ecosystems instead of parks placed in human communities" he says. So who will be the one to decide who gets into the parks? Paul Watson? "We need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion" "Who should have children? Those who are responsible and completely dedicated to the responsibility which is actually a very small percentage of humans" - These are all things this lunatic advocates. All you who try to defend this guy need to open your eyes. Do you really think you will be one of the few who are allowed to live in the human parks this guy has in mind?

    August 19, 2012 at 5:01 am | Report abuse |
    • markdonners

      I agree with Paul Watson 100% on this. Humans have to be quarantined from harming earth's life.

      August 21, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • mayukh

      its very pathetic that a person like Paul who is fighting for a better earth is facing challenges and horrible comments from people who claim themselves (in an induced manner) to be dreamers of a better world for human beings, "ONLY HUMAN BEINGS". alas! when will they ever learn that we too are a part of the world like the other creatures & world is not a part of us!!!

      January 12, 2013 at 12:43 am | Report abuse |
  6. Indonesian

    We support you Paul. a shame of human does not know the word enough

    September 23, 2012 at 6:26 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ram Riva

    Whale one of the best reality shows in today's pathetic how whalers kill such a beautiful animal...solely for the profit.....cheers for all the volunteers on the "Sea Sheperd Conservation Society" may disagree with their methods....we don't....but their cause is very noble.....

    November 20, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Grizz

    This coward runs when it's his turn to face a judiciary body.
    Paul Watson, and this rag-tag group of volunteers that refers to themselves as "crew", can suck lemons because they're all nothing but pirates and should be charges as such.

    December 4, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
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