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. tonymanx

    Who cares what "Interpol" say or want! They are an unregulated, self appointed powerless (for now) pseudo police group.

    August 9, 2012 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rick

    Its AMAZING just how clueless most of posters here are. Absolutely NO CLUE what is going on.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lissa

      I'm a skeptic and a fence sitter with a very open mind. Where would you suggest I get information to get the clue that you seem to have, Rick? (And, no, just pointing to the SS website isn't cutting it). I have numerous questions about this situation, and the ethics of SS, and if a reasonably unbiased source exists, I'd like to find it.

      August 10, 2012 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
  3. Brian Lord

    Good luck, Capt. Watson. We're all praying for you.

    August 9, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • realtexan

      No we're not.

      August 10, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. raven

    Am I the only one who thinks he looks like a deranged Santa Claus in that picture?

    August 9, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. ggrieser

    Probably the dumbest show ever made, watched only by the dumbest people on earth.

    August 10, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      ggrieser funny comment from someone who watches it just to complain right! You have labelled yourself my work is done! Good luck Captain Watson i know you have a plan!

      August 11, 2012 at 4:16 am | Report abuse |
  6. Beff "Skunk" Jaxter

    Is that Bob Seger?

    August 10, 2012 at 11:57 am | Report abuse |
  7. steve

    Paul Watson has got to be the most entertaining fool on TV, he will do and or say anything to lead people in whatever direction he sees fit. He follows only the laws that he sees fit and will break most of the rest. I don’t know how many of you have read COLREGS72 but for those of you that have I’m sure you find his seamanship as funny as I do.....yep I’m going to keep watching whale wars just to see him lead his group of novice sailors to an entertaining death.....at least if he’s at sea he isn’t reproducing!

    August 10, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      wow steve you make him sound like G.W.Bush! Bad news Steve there is no law saying one cannot reproduce while at sea! have you never been on a cruise ship? :o)

      August 11, 2012 at 4:19 am | Report abuse |
  8. dirtpickle

    No one else is lifting a finger to stop any of the raping our natural resources. These countries ruin their own then set sail to destroy everyone else's. Good for the Sea Shepherd's at least some one is watching!

    August 10, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sailor101

    I have seen this guy on TV, I agree he is nothing but an eco-terrorist and should be behind bars. Like Green Peace, while their ideals may be noble thier tactics are criminal.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      No one has died. Hold back on the drama.

      August 10, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Edith

      China has no regard for the ecology, human rights or civil rights. Their government is run by Russian styled thugs. Now it seems that Costa Rica is playing into the hands of communists.

      August 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Farah

      It was only last month that China finally bent to international pressure and stopped the serving of shark fin soup at state functions. They are slow learners about ecology. They have so many mouths to feed that they will gladly eat anything that moves. Thankfully they did learn something about too many people on the planet and have had a strict one child policy for a long time. They are the world leaders in that category.

      August 10, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • spaz

      Someone has to take a stand, legal or not. I'm all for this brand of eco-terrorism and will gladly donate to their cause.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      To me, he is a hero, although he's not too bright and he's very impulsive. At least he cares - whereas here you are, with your head in a hole in the ground and your butt in the air. What are you doing for humanity?

      August 10, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      No one has even come close to dying, except the brave and admittedly foolish people on The Sea Shepherd itself.

      August 10, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Criminal, are those who are cutting fins off of Sharks – FOR SOUP.

      But maybe you're right, maybe they should lock this guy away forever in Costa Rica. I mean, we wouldn't want any Chinese people to go without their Shark Fin Soup. That would be awful.

      August 10, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Sailor101- More research! But you would mention bars just can,t keep out the sailors! :o)

      August 11, 2012 at 4:22 am | Report abuse |
    • mel

      Nadnesh.........And what do you do for humanity?

      August 12, 2012 at 12:35 am | Report abuse |
  10. Desert1

    No one needs anything that comes from killing whales,all the things they were used for previously can be man made,as for the meat thats not needed either except by very few native tribes.Some countries like China will eat anything.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • tryclyde

      What are you talking about? Unlike most people, this guy has DONE things to help the planet and the animals that inhabit it.

      August 10, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  11. JimStew

    This guy is a criminal and idiot what does Romney have to do with that?

    August 10, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Randy

      Save a whale. You'll feel better about yourself and Paul Watson.

      August 10, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. THX1953

    Put him in with Bubba

    August 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Archyle

    This man is a criminal, and his genius is that he plays upon the desires of the disenfranchised idealists before they get any real life experience. I applaud standing up for something you believe in, but he is by definition a terrorist. You garner that distinction when you cross the line and put the lives of innocent people in jeopardy. still all that said, killing animals like that is senseless...and should be stopped. I guess Watson will be glad interpol is a joke...

    August 10, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. justice

    Lock him up and throw away the key

    August 10, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Shark Advocate

    Costa Rica would benefit more by becoming an outspoken advocate for the enviroment rather than promoting trade that will cause the eventual extinction of sharks and other ocean life. Paul Watson should receive the medal of honor –he is the only person in the world who actively attempts to protect ocean life from extinction by confronting those who engage in activities like shark finning and whale hunting. Future generations will honor him for his courage and persistance in his efforts to save ocean life and the environment. Costa Rica should look to the future and support Paul Watson's efforts.

    August 10, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
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