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. J.C.

    Where can I chip in to the defense fund for Watson? F those finners, whale hunters, and the rest of the ocean's rapists.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      He just threw over 300K out the window, I'm thinking he doesn't need the money.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brand

      If you can't figure out how to donate money to their cause you will fit right in with these Sea Stooges! Paul Watson is an Eco-terrorist who uses his "cause" to stuff his wallet and his fat hamster cheeks.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      RIGHT ON!!!

      August 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • yippee


      August 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • GetOffYourHighHorse

      If he's innocent of the charges, why did he run? Perhaps he did cause some damage after all?

      August 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • NutGrinder

      @GetOffYourHighHorse – take your own advice. And, he probably KNOWS he's guilty but doesn't care. He is a true hero and says FU to you sea rapists and carries on trying to preserve this beautiful world from parasitic garbage and governments that are only looking to profit.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Nik

    Can a condition of his trial be that "Whale Wars" gets taken off the air? I'm about as bleeding heart as they come but those people annoy the ever loving crap out of me.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brand

      No, Whale Wars is the funniest show on television! We can't take it off the air until we get to see Paul Watson send some of his crew members to Davey Jones' Locker!

      August 9, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • John in WNY

      Ironically whale wars has had the opposite of the desired effect on myself, and several people I know as it exposed Paul Watson as a giant blowhard who will lie, cheat and steal if it promotes his agenda.

      August 13, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  3. amy

    When is Interpol going to go after the bankers?

    August 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sean

      They do, when the commit crimes and try to evade arrest.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. John

    Big ups to capt watson for doing what most others aren't willing to... i'll gladly donate to fund his legal defense, and shame on costa rica for not taking a more progressive stance on protecting natural resources. That country has built a booming industry on eco-tourism, why not protect the 'eco'?

    August 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • NutGrinder

      Right ON!

      August 9, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Crocker

      Just send your donations to me and I will make sure he gets it.

      August 11, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Thermion7

    I have always thought this guy was a criminal... Do I believe in the basic cause? sure. But that doesnt justify his methods.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tammy Brown

      Dear Thermion7
      Please outline some actions you think might work. Sure Paul Watson's methods are crude, but so is the crime.
      This guy is a hero and history will catch up with him one day... hopefully sooner than interpol.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nodack

      They are the ONLY ones doing ANYTHING about illegal fishing in the world. What other methods do you support that have any chance of making any difference at all? I will not wait around for an answer because it isn't going to happen.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      What method would you use Thermion7 and remember it has to stop the whalers now not in ten or twenty years when no whales are left! So what instant method is your answer to solve this issue?

      August 11, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
  6. Brian

    This guy needs to be locked up! Can't believe they promoted his illegal activities with a TV show.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • CA Liberal

      Watson is trying to save the oceans from greedy fools. Which concerns everybody since most of the oxygen you breath and a lot of the food in the world comes from the oceans. His methods may be extreme but they work like nothing else does.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • susie

      i say we need more of his ilk!

      August 9, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kai

      Name the "illegal" activities?

      August 9, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nodack

      So trying to stop illegal activities is an illegal activity? Sounds like a double negative.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. J.O.

    It's about time. I'm all for saving the whales but not the way this nut does it. He endangers too may people, including his own crew.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rob

    Yeah, leave Paul Watson alone. Watching those bunch of incompetent idiots defend the whales is funny as hell!

    August 9, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Muhammad


    August 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • mgee

      please learn to bathe on a regualr basis and consider using deodorant.

      August 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Free Speech Advocate

      allah SUCKS and is the cause of all evil on the planet. Why are you even posting here? Moron.

      August 11, 2012 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  10. orion7x

    Buncha idiots on these posts. I'd be far more violent if it were me. Why doesn't Interpol go after the people breaking the treaties for killing whales. Our world law enforcement is bought and payed for by criminals. Do the right thing and stop the breaches of treaties.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • sandy brooks

      Completely agree

      August 9, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian Dodge

      Because the people profiting from trade in endangered species – tuna, whales, you name it – are the people who say "jump" when Interpol says "how high"

      August 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ollie

    Watson is a Pirate. He flies a Jolly Rogers and has disabled ships, boarded ships at high seas and damaged private property. I don't disagree with saving endangered wildlife but what he does is Piracy and he and his crew should be treated as such. He skipped bail and for that should be arrested. They are dangerous and give our cause a very bad name.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nodack

      I'm glad you like the cause, but besides him who has saved even one whale? They are the ONLY police force out there doing anything about it. Take them away and your cause is just some guy complaining about something and not doing anything about it. Talk is cheap.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ollie

    Rob, you are correct. We watch just to laugh at the Barny Fife Activists. They safety records and lack of Seamanship is comical.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Nodack

    You can always donate to the Republican party. They hate anything that is good for people, animals or the planet and they will gladly take your money.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • yippee


      August 9, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      You stupid democrat!!

      August 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • lyncher

      Get some new material.

      August 9, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Archyle

      but if we don't agree with you then we're biggots right? if you eat meat, you support the slaughter of animals, when you type on the computer, you are poisoning your planet by using electricity that is generated burning fossil fuels..if you wear clothes then you are involved in the destruction of our earth's biodiversity through genetic engineering.

      You nailed it. republicans hate prosperity and improving peoples quality of life. Those sharkers are obviously republicans, living in the squallor of a communist society that afforded them the oppurtunity to feed thier families by mutilating living creatures.

      I wish those republicans weren't around so we could all become vegans even though evolution still gives us teeth to eat meat and a metabolism that requires the protein and fat found in it.

      do you have writers? cuz you're material is so fresh! do you enjoy the computer and the internet connection you have? the roof over your head and the free time to write on message boards? Whether you can appreciate it or not these things were afforded you by the republican ideals of free trade capitalism, which for all its flaws has still offered those who adopt it a better quality of life than anyone else at any time in recorded history.

      August 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • w5cdt

      Amen to that.

      August 10, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joes

      Your actually describing the Democratic party Bud!

      August 10, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan Crocker

      So how much have you donated so far?

      August 11, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Tom


      Really? That's your witty comment? Do us all a favor and stop posting.

      August 12, 2012 at 6:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom


      That's your witty comment? Do us all a favor and please stop posting.

      August 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • MrDAA

      No, we don't.

      We, however do not take a fanatical approach in dealing with issues of environmental concern as does the radical left.

      See, the left is completely dominated, and totally ensconced with the leftist radical ideology that the ends justify the means, and the severity of the means has no upper limit.

      That, my friend is completely wrong.

      August 14, 2012 at 11:27 am | Report abuse |
  14. anonymous

    This guy is an eco-terrrorist.... a vigilante and should be locked up... You got a problem with countries fishing for whales... call your congresman... idiots.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nodack

      Go ahead and call your Congressman. Call every Congressman. They aren't going to do anything.

      "Hello Congressman, ya, I want you to stop illegal whaling around the world. Could you take care of that for me? Thanks a bunch."

      Let me know how that works out for you Einstein.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. susie

    Personally, I think Republicans are far more dangerous.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Report abuse |
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