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. Bob

    I'm all for the protection of endangered species, but when you board someone else's property in the middle of international waters, you're asking for trouble. He's lucky someone didn't shoot him the moment he attacked someone's vessel.

    August 13, 2012 at 8:42 am | Report abuse |
  2. BG

    So...these guys are pirates, where do they get their funding?

    August 13, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Half-Baked


      August 13, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. BG

    It is embarrassing that these clowns mostly speak American english, and the we put them on tv, how stupid are we to support their acts of piracy.

    ALL of them should be locked up

    August 13, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    Animal Planet producers should be under arrest too. This guy's activity is like blowing up abortion clinics - except he claims to be acting on behalf of sharks instead of people

    August 13, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Justin Time

    Interference with maritime commerce is piracy. Hang this fool from a yardarm.

    August 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MikeS

    Interpol needs to go waste their time/resources chasing real criminals not international scapegoats.

    August 13, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • freecheese

      Real criminals, huh ? Let's start with Eric Holder, Jay Carney and Obama.

      August 13, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. dave

    So to all of those who have written to support this nut job.... If I see a large gas guzzling SUV on the highway that is poluting the atmosphere, you would all be okay with me swerving my PRIUS at them on the highway and throwing water baloons at them and throwing spike strips out in the road to disable them, much like this nut job does with his ropes and cables that are designed to disable the fishing vessels? You all need to realize that people like this are dangerous. you want so much to be part of something you grasp onto things like this. Why don't you join the military and be part of something that you can be proud of?

    August 13, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  8. freecheese

    These people have a humble cause, but their tactics remind me of the Earth First enviornmentalists that plant huge spikes in trees to kill or injure lumber men. They even burn huge lots of SUVs, They are left wing kooks who need to be arrested and imprisoned.

    August 13, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  9. reaganrepub

    Safe to say that no ladies have issued a wanted notice, right?

    August 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. charlotte begleyh

    im not for or against any of these things. question? how big are the teeth on that whaler? look at his gut. one can only wish he was one of bob marley's wailers.

    August 13, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Meat & Fat

    Well if they are hunting the whales for their meat and fat they should come to Alabama.....the state where the women roll and Malls are small Jurassic Parks without the Soundtrack..........

    August 13, 2012 at 7:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MrDAA

    Your luck ran out, cappy.

    Torpedo boats a commin'.

    August 14, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. notamuslim

    This fool is not being sought for his use of watercannon he is being pursued for his ramming of the fishing vessel which his people then forced to allow to be towed by them. The guy steered his much larger cargo ship into the small fishing vessel which his own cameramen recorded and then forced the fishermen to accept his tow line under penalty of being rammed to death by his huge floating ego ship. The guy is a menace to all seagoing traffic and should not have a captains license at all let alone be allowed to continuously perform the damgerous attacks he perpetrates on the TV show. It is illegal to attempt to foul the propeller of a ship but he is seen sending his minions to do that many times on camera. it is illegal to plant land mines on a ship and sink it but he has been convicted of doing just that. It is illegal to ram a ship and he has skipped bail to avoid being prosecuted for his crimes twice now. The guy is a jerk who gets off on hurting others and uses the cause of whales to allow him to hurt others. Arrest his lame butt and let the legal system jail him for his criminal acts already enough theater.

    August 14, 2012 at 11:56 am | Report abuse |
    • JMM

      Yeah, stopping the illegal killings of sharks and endangered whales is such a terrible thing. Our Oceans are our greatest resources and yet this guys efforts to protect that resource make him a "jerk". Wow, better watch the tough language. And yeah, he does all of this in the name of "whales" just so he can hurt people? that is hilarious!!
      Just as an FYI – this world evolves at a slower pace due to your immense stupidty.

      August 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  14. RuckRow

    love that somehow comments turned political; it's a fat guy and his lackeys shootin super soakers at fisherman...if he aint got nothin to hide from, why run?

    August 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. theboss

    theres nothing rong with hunting

    August 14, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lou

      Wrong is the word you're looking for...wrong, not rong.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
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