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. Lou

    He and his crews are nothing more than pirates. His tactics have only produce anger and cost money for everyone involved. He should be arrested, his boats impounded, fined and have his Captains license taken away. He is a menace out on the sea.

    August 14, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Knucklehead

    When they write the stories of the coming Class War, this will go down as one of the first shots fired, a corporate attack on an attempt to stop their quest for unbridled raping of the planet and all who get in their way...battle lines are being drawn...

    August 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Vad

    Does this guy creep anyone else out or is it just me?

    August 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Impartial marshall

      Yes he does, no mental giant either.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. lj56

    I am a liberal, but these tree huggers, like this moron, take it to another level, and risk lives, here like it was toilet paper, for a stupid fish, this is no different than a man driving a semi or even better a tank, and allowed to kill who ever he deems a menace, according to his eyes. he is what gives liberals a bad reputation,

    August 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • belinda

      And you probably think it's OK to kill Whales and baby seals.I lived in Alaska and it's people like you that want to profit from the Ocean ,but not give anything back.Crummy deal.

      August 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. lj56

    nothing wrong with hunting, just explain, why you need, a 50 caliber, automatic, oozy, or any other assult weapons , and the NRA keeps telling me obama wants to take my guns away, when its gun toteing legally owned gun owners who are killing people after loose lipped politians claiming they are exercising thier 2nd amendment rights, after not realizing the responsibility's that come with thier loose lipped rights they walked all over to begin with, we all know thiers that 10 % in every crowd

    August 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. belinda

    What a crock . Interpol can't find something else to concentrate on besides harassing Conservation efforts ? Good for you Watson !!! You have many supporters !!! Keep up the good work !!!

    August 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Impartial marshall

    He is now looking out for himself and not the whales, how many whales could have been saved with the 302,000.00 dollars he forfieted by skipping out on his bail. He is all for saving whales unless it is going to cause him any inconvience. Where is your balls Skipper. Stand up or shut up.

    August 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lj56

    thiers nothing wrong with killing meat as long as you eat the meat, a gun should not be handled except for two reasons, one is to kill, the other is to clean it, its not a toy, guns do not kill, Romney, People do, and to say, we should not do anything about the people who have guns is ignorant, like thier party, totally clueless, and fiithy rich, these people look you right in the face, and flat out lie, (in the name of god). thiers your clue

    August 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. lj56

    just like the conservative farmers, who never saw the climate change coming everyones been crying about for years, they chose to ingnore, and now want a what, thats right another hand out, when isn't that the risk a farmer takes to begin with, and doesn't most already have earlier crops already harvested put away for the hard times that high risk like this can bring. if not why should we

    August 14, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lj56

    today, theres no such thing as a small farmer, its all gone big, tractors that cost hundreds of thousands, of dallors, and all seem to have the most expensive tractor, along with the most expensive motor home, yet they wine like babys all the time, about this, and then that, every day,its a flood, drought, tornado, hurricane, fire, heat, its like every day we are saving the south from hell, and i still laugh when they say its hot in texas, no crap, morons, thats why its texas.

    August 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • MC

      I agree Paul Watson represents the best of what men of conscious want for our world. He does it against all odds and against Big Business which have unlimited funds, and don’t care about what damages may be done.. Keep in mind that the reality is that Big Business Money is what’s behind the people trying to stop PW. Paul Watson’s tactics may not always be the most politically correct, but it’s the only way Big Business understands (disrupting the cash flow). Big Business’s goal is to run the world and we all see this by simply following the news.. The world is in need of more people like PW. As far as the industries or in this case government looking for PW, well this is simply another, follow the money story..

      August 14, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • SpellingMan


      August 15, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  11. lj56

    thanks kel, ex marine, here, and obama supporter

    August 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. hypatia

    wonder who paid interpol off?

    August 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Kaylie

    Love shooting, have almost a dozen collectable guns, eat meat regularly, would like to go hunting, had a truck before it died, and would have liked to serve in the military. I'm also an Obama supporter.

    August 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Reality99

    They need to jail that loser for a few decades.

    August 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. high seas terrorism

    My apologies for the spelling mistake. Guess. There fixed it

    August 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Report abuse |
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