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. Pay

    I've seen his show – He runs around all fast and loose thinking he has the right to do anything he wants. He should be locked up...

    August 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JCR

    This guy needs help, as his actions are nothing short of terrorism on the high seas. He has let the fame go to his head, and has ruined what initially was a noble cause, however no longer due to his and his crews antics and tactics. He is the reason I and many others no longer support Animal Planet. There is nothing wrong in supporting your belief or cause, whatever it might be, however once you cross the line and begin forcing your beliefs on others, or worse injuring or killing someone in the name of your cause, then you become nothing more than a terrorist. Watson and his crew need to be reeled in before they seriously injure or kill someone.

    August 10, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      JCR but cutting the fins off a shark and throwing it back into the sea is cool with you? We support life human or animal while you support money!

      August 11, 2012 at 4:26 am | Report abuse |
  3. w5cdt

    Good pubicity for Whales Wars.....roll cameras!

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


      August 10, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ju

    This jerk has been around since the 60`s living of the money of others–thinking that he knows all!

    August 10, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • HAHAHA!

      Have you seen the South Park parody?

      August 10, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mindurbiz

    Conservationist? Try eco-terrorist. He's proven that enough times with his own filming of actions taken.

    August 10, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeremy

    I have seen this guy on TV. His boat consumes fossil fuels which pollute the air.

    August 10, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  7. daemon

    Anyone who can consider cutting the fins off a shark then tossing them back into the water "alive" to drown, should have the same done to them! That is why we need more people like Paul to stand up to take more aggressive action & stop such abuse! The end!!

    August 10, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. HAHAHA!

    This CLOWN finally get's what's coming to him. Should get the rest of his soft boiled hipster anti-christ crew too.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • daemon

      Ani-crist means Paul and his crew would be killing, slaughtering the animals – not saving them you FOOL!

      August 10, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Balthazar

    Idiots support eco terrorism. If you want to get something done, then do it through the proper channels. I agree that whales should be protected but the way these guys and other eco terrorist go about it takes the focus of the issue and puts it on the fight itself.
    Hes an idiot and so are people who support him.

    August 10, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • dick gosinya

      Obviously, you know nothing about the corrupt "whaling commission" .

      August 10, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • cynthia

      Shows how much you know, true idiot. The 'proper channels' in this case WERE followed, then politics got involved. Also, try getting the courts in countries who still allow predatory fishing for sharks and whales, etc., to enforce any international treaties against harvesting parts of any species. You are an apathetic, self-inflicted, ignorant joke.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • blessedgeek

      Stopping the killing of whales is not eco terrorism. It is being human.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Balthazar the judas who soldout his people on battlestar Galactica! The proper channels? There are no police except the sea shepards who are up holding the law. By your statement if you saw a woman or a child being killed you would not interveen but would go through proper channels even though the woman or child would die? Really that's what you believe-shame!

      August 11, 2012 at 2:03 am | Report abuse |
    • wow

      I am against calling people I have never met and vetted names such as idiot. So I will simply ask if you really believe "do it through the proper channels" is a serious option here ? Governments have proven they will do as they wish to and with the environment and since they control the proper channels do you not think an independent observer is in the best interest of the common man ? We can debate his methods and ideology but his dedication to his cause can hardly be summed up as an idiot being an eco terrorist .

      August 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Byzantine Ruins

      In other words, you didn't even read the article.

      August 12, 2012 at 12:11 am | Report abuse |
    • high seas terrorism

      There are no proper channels for this because its not a real issue. Starvation, corrupt governments, genocide these are real issues people should be wooried about. This man has done nothing but collect grants and money from people dumb enough to send it to him to commit international piracy. If a single fisherman is put in danger by the actions of a few deranged people trying to save an aminal, then those people and the media outlets that support him should all be held responsible. Its ridiculous to put the lives of a fish or whale above the life of even a single human being. If you feel such a connection to these creatures please feel free to join them in open water without a vessel. Please stay there.

      August 15, 2012 at 1:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Brad

    He has been leading Sea Shepherd long before he was 'Whale Wars' star. In fact, the charges leading to his arrest were long before Whale Wars even started.

    August 10, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  11. susan

    The point is china will wipe out everything thats not tied down

    August 10, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  12. eric

    He must be afraid of something if he's willing to forfeit over 300 thousand dollars to run away. That's not exactly innocent behavior.

    August 10, 2012 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Why is it not innocent behavoir? You believe justice is done in 100% of all cases or that international crime is based more on political reasoning that law?

      August 11, 2012 at 1:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. me

    is this the same idiot who drive his boat under a whaler and then cried about it?

    August 11, 2012 at 2:10 am | Report abuse |
  14. Caiha

    You got vigilante, you end up getting a big ego, and think you can use force and intimidation to stop ANY behavior you don't approve of. While I approve of his message, I think he's a megolomaniac and the best thing he could do for his cause at this point is become a martyr. If he continues on this path he's just giving fuel to his opponents.

    August 11, 2012 at 4:38 am | Report abuse |
    • TransitDave

      Meglomaniac....that's the word I was looking for to describe his hit the nail on the head.......

      August 11, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Lj

    Hope he's caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent.

    August 11, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
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