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. Sean

    J.C. He just threw over 300K out the window, I'm pretty sure he doesn't need your money.
    It is funny though. One would think that a person devoted to such a cause would use this opportunity to get the media to put a spot light on this industry. Instead the spot light is now on him evading the justice system and being an international fugitive.

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

      He wouldn't have to post the entire 300K

      August 9, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      And I'm sure the Guatemalan justice system is 100% above reproach and could never be subverted for political reasons.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Maybe he knew it's all bogus and figured he's skate rather than be extradited and be held in jail for an unknown period of time.
      This probably gets more media play for his cause than him hanging around in Germany.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Sean he's already got his worth from the 300k in advertising just from the discussions were having and don't count him out yet as he has the mind of a fox, as for your media spotlight he's in all the papers and the disscussion continues!

      August 11, 2012 at 2:27 am | Report abuse |
  2. Dellstator

    His crew are volunteers and routinely do far more dangerous things than be on one of his ships, not one which has been damaged except by deliberate ramming by those fishing species to extinction.
    It would be great to combat over fishing, and those skirting fishing laws by saying they are scientists, if only the UN, courts all over, police and military in 3rd world countries weren't all on the payroll of the rich, who NEVER care about the consequences of their actions. How can they, they are sociopaths mostly. Google it, most CEOs have the personality traits of sociopaths. In the UN, the rich bribe impoverished land locked countries to vote in favor of more fishing.
    When the law is owned by the rich, by the corporations, the people, the 90%, 99% whichever have one choice. Slavery or resistance. Non – violent resistance is the least of what the rich and powerful can expect as they tighten their noose around our necks.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • AGoodChristian

      Dellstator, you reference the UN but what I think you're talking about is the International Whaling Commission. Much of your analysis is correct, but it would help your argument to do a bit more research.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      His crew are volunteers simply because they have no money to pay them, they need every penny for lawyers.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      Well said!!

      August 10, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Ian his crew is made up of volunteers because they believe in the cause! Like in war those who sign up are the ones willing to give up thier lives!

      August 11, 2012 at 2:31 am | Report abuse |
  3. ricardo1968

    What are his survival chances in a Costa Rican prison? If he indeed has political enemies there, it could be very dangerous.

    August 9, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. woodofpine

    For all practical purposes INTERPOL was expanded from obscurity into significance by Nazi Germany under Reinhold Heydrich. Even after WWII, INTERPOL was precluded by internal by-laws from participating in the apprehnsive of fugitive Nazis... Surprised?

    August 9, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • namethename

      You have surprised me, Sir!

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

      Specifically it is prevented from going after ANY political related offence – which includes war crimes commited by any country.... INTERPOL is not able to arrest – they coordinate inteligence and inter-agency communications...

      So – to imply that because it HAPPENED to be headquartered in Berlin during the war years – run my German officers during the war years – that it won't specifically go after NAZI's is a misrepresentation...

      INTEPOL was changed after WWII – because of what happened – regardless of where an international organization is headquartered, it could always suffer the effects of a rogue government or domestic changes....

      During the war years it isn't like the 'World' was relying on INTERPOL to actually do anything....

      Misleading statements serve no purpose...

      August 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. momzna

    Captain Watson is a self righteous hoodlum who thinks that "animal rights" are more important than human life and tries to tell other people what to eat. I would be happy to see him in jail.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jermaine Alan

      Yeah, those animals should speak up for themselves if they don't want to be caught and have their fins cut off. Last I check, a creature that would cut off the hands and legs of a human would certainly be considered inhumane. But you are concerned with the "human rights" of these fisherman? What twisted logic you have. And for a soup served in China? Really, like they are the poster children of humanity?

      August 9, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • reddragon


      August 9, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • KristinaKaye

      What a nonsensical statement to make!!!

      August 9, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alice


      August 9, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • CARLA

      hate to tell you this but once the animals are gone guess who's next for extinction?, all life is important. Humans just happen to think that they are the most important.

      August 10, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. AGoodChristian

    Paul Watson opposes nuclear power. It's a difficult argument to claim that you're an environmentalist when you oppose the only current form of energy which is capable of providing enough electricity to supply the world's demand, while also producing no harmful waste. The radioactive waste produced in nuclear plants is a solid. It stays where we put it. It can be sunk to the bottom of the ocean and never harm the ecosystem. Six feet of seawater is enough to insulate life against its particle decay. Better yet, we can build breeder reactors which reuse the waste and produce more energy. If you don't support nuclear power, you either support further hydrocarbon combustion, or you support mass murder. There is no other option currently to overcome the energy needs of humanity over the next decade.

    Watson is obsessed with himself. He craves the attention he's gotten from playing ocean cowboys. It's hard to even claim that he's helped whales, being that his actions have caused whaling nations to ramp up their efforts. The guy just loves the adulation he gets from so-called environmentalists who's critical thinking skills rest on the lowest level of the spectrum.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • AGoodChristian

      Oh, a reminder: Paul Watson thinks a whale's life is worth more than a human's. That's sociopathy.

      August 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • SSampson

      Nuclear waste is safe?? – yes – of course – as long at it is stored properly..... which has proven to be a challenge in the past – human error or not....

      Regardless – nuclear energy is relatively clean when functioning properly – the supply chain to keep them operating, not so much but you are right in that overall it is much cleaner...

      Of course – as we have seen in the 'accidents' over the past several years, there are significant environmental issues that can occur to to natural disaster with and without the human factors –

      You shouldn't JUST compare nuclear energy to other sources based on CO2 emmisions – Decisions are best made when ALL factors are considered – different methods of energy production have differing issues which must be balanced...

      And then there is the price – Wind power can generate the same amount of energy for the same cost as nuclear (a tiny bit less)- but, of course, that is comparing the gross production over time – Wind power is not consistant which causes other issues obviously – So perhaps a good mix would be best....

      Finally – we should never assume that the best method of energy production has been discovered – keep looking – and keep researching the known clean sources.... If we spent the money given to big oil on research of clean energy instead of tax breaks, we'd likely be decades ahead of where we are...

      August 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |

      Just the fact that you call yourself "a good Christian" shows you are an idiot. There is no such thing as a good Christian. Every war on the planet comes from ignorant religious fervor, every judgment made daily about another human being is done by people calling themselves religious and feeling superior.......Case in point.....YOU. This man is a GIFT FROM GOD and is doing the work that GOOD CHRISTIANS should be doing daily. Have you read the bible? Oh that's right; you’re an American Christian REPUBLICAN so you don't actually know what you’re talking about.

      August 10, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      agoodchristian- You believe a human life is more valuable than an animals is a religious belief not based in any reality, but in general true! Yet with the number of humans verses the number of remaining whales means as a species we are less valuable. Admit it we have enough bad people to spare! If killing humans is wrong then the great flood by gods hand tells us that the lives of those who are evil hold no value! This truth is shown but the almighties actions! whew

      August 11, 2012 at 2:39 am | Report abuse |
    • o

      It's funny you deride the critical thunking skills of "enviromentalists" and can speak so confidently that man is the ultimate creature on this planet (as your religious dogma-theory claims.) Has is occurred to you whales might actually be smarter than people – so much so that violence is completely foreign to them. Have you seen a whale flee in fear or fight for its life? It's heartbreaking. Only the lowest form of human would discount these creatures as less deserving of life than humans. I thought Christians respected all life? But then again, most Christians are hypocrites.

      August 14, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      AGoodChristian? A Good Poser is more like what you are.

      August 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |

      Instead of talking crap and pointing fingers at someone who tried to help the whales maybe you should get out there and see what you could do??

      January 9, 2013 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Just Sayin'

    I'm pretty sure that guy's image is going to haunt me in my dreams tonight.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • penguins42

      The longer you look at the picture, the longer he stares into your soul. >_>

      August 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andrew

      Kinda looks like a guy who drives a beat up 80's model van with no windows that drives by a lot of playgrounds....

      August 9, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  8. floridasboy

    With all the corruption, piracy and illegal fishing going on in Costa Rica and surrounding area (meaning from Mexico to Cape Horn!). To issue warrants for spraying water is a JOKE. Shark finners should be finned and thrown in the sea. And for countries still whaling... tsunamis are a good thing.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • w.g wilson

      Your post is utter nonsense. Pointing a water cannon or throwing foreign objects on a ship's deck is highly dangerous, and is assault. It's very easy to slip and fall overboard during normal conditions. This is a crime that needs to be prosecuted. Good for Interpol!

      August 13, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. Thermion7

    Boarding a ship without permission illegal, possibly piracy... then calling the news to report that you have been taken hostage... Illegal.
    Bombarding a ship with bottles of chemicals.... Illegal.
    purposely trying to have a ship hit you so that you can claim you were rammed?

    August 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Thermion7 non-of those actions are illegal if your up holding international law! Police do it every day and the seashepards are the whale police! See Israel boarding of ships sent to palistine as a poor example where they actually killed people with no repercussions!

      August 11, 2012 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  10. ThereisA God

    So now he's a fugitive turned Pirate of the Seas. I never understood why this guy turned terrorist of the high seas. Now i know, he thinks he's god and can do as he pleases. I think his whole fleet of pirate vessels should be sunk at sea.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • carpenterman123

      Are you accepting donations?

      August 9, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • NutGrinder

      Typical banter from a religious nut. I'm sure you probably believe that we can just keep fishing our oceans dry and GOD will resupply our dwindling fish species. Or if not, the fish will all end up in fish heaven anyways so its OK. Get help please.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Hmmm ThereisA God and he wants you to stop judging people this is only allowed by the almighty himself unless you believe yourself to be God? If not you are not a good christian for leaving the path and not obeying the word!

      August 11, 2012 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
  11. Seth

    Captain Watson is a good man doing a good thing in the eyes of God. There is no more noble cause. To bad there aren't more like him.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. r2g

    Mmm... shark fin soup.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. i dislike paul watson

    Its about time he's brought to justice. He's lucky he hasn't been shot a sea for what he's done.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      He has been shot! Guess you know not of what you speak of so do some research mand get back to us!

      August 11, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Dr.Rick

    I am by no means a Paul Watson fan. First of all he was one of the founding members of "Green Peace." And that organization (Green Peace) actually kicked Paul Watson out due to the tactics he used. Watson is has used violence and other dangerous measures to get what he wants when it comes to his agenda. Essentially, more people and public opinion are against him due to the tactics he uses. When it comes to Whalen fishing...I'm absolutely against it. But what Watson and crew do is absolutely wrong too. Interpol is somewhat useless, since they DO NOT have ANY arresting authority. All Interpol can do is ask a member country to assist and make an arrest if that arrest is warranted per that member nations laws.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      I love me some whalen!!

      August 9, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • carpenterman123

      Yarrr whalen be good

      August 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Dr.Rick if you were there how would you stop them from taking the whales without any physical contact? Well then Pauls methods work lip action does nothing!

      August 11, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  15. Bill

    To call him a conservationist is a travesty. He is a terrorist.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • SSampson

      We needto STOP using the word terrorist to describe everyone – In this case the comment is ludicrous – Look up the word DICTIONARY and maybe you'll discover where you can go to find the proper word; to find out what defines a terrorist.

      He uses aggressive and questionable tactics to push his agenda – absolutely – People have done that for all sorts of reasons over the years.... But it isn't terrorism...

      When he starts (for example) running around killing random unrelated people to support his cause... THEN we have a terrorist...

      August 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      It's not called terrorism when Americans do it.
      It's called peace keeping.

      August 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Terrorist tell can you list any deaths? No then not a terrorist end of discussion

      August 11, 2012 at 1:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Radical Centrist

      A terrorist?

      Does he really terrify you, Bill? That's kind of embarrassing.

      August 11, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
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