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. Obama2012

    There are serious criminals out there and Captain Paul Watson isn't one of them – this is ridiculous! I support Sea Shepherd and Captain Paul Watson. Last time I checked Derek pork wasn't on an endangered species list! Romney supporters won't be happy until we have abused and used every last resource on this planet! If our oceans and the species that call the oceans home die – we die! Wake up!

    August 9, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      No, he's not a serious criminal, he's just a has-been loser Greenpeace didn't want, totally small potatoes. You would think they were lined up behind him, and in fact they were, to kick his sorry butt out. 🙂

      August 9, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      @ Ian your an idiot without reason or logic tried to reason with you!

      August 11, 2012 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. earlbowden

    "The current charge, according to Interpol, is “causing a danger of drowning or of an air disaster.”

    So, Watson endangered a flying boat? Wouldn't a flying boat by definition, "cause a danger of drowning"?

    August 9, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ian

      OR: definition – alternative to, instead of.

      Comprehend simple English much?

      August 9, 2012 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bobcat (in a hat)©

    ... A male whale and a female whale were swimming off the coast of Ja pan when they noticed a whaling ship. The male whale recognized it as the same ship that had harpo oned his father many years earlier.
    He said to the female whale, "Lets both swim under the ship and bl ow out our air hole at the same time and it should cause the ship to turn over and sink." They tried it and sure enough, the ship turned over and quickly sank.
    Soon, however, the whales realized the sailors were swimming to the safety of the shore. The male whale was enraged that they were going to get away and told the female, "Lets swim after them and gobble them up before they reach the shore."
    At this point, he realized the female was becoming reluctant to follow him.

    "Look", she said, "I went along with the b low job, but I absolutely refuse to swallow the seamen."

    August 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • tam61866

      hahahahahahahaha =)

      August 9, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    Watson is an idiot. He has no respect for the safety when he recklessly endangers vessels with his antics. He should not have a Masters liscense! I would never go to sea with him in command. A real buffoon.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Tom I'm glad your worried about the ships most here worry about the men or the Whales! :o) Do not worry as Paul would not ask you on his ship, but the rest of us want you off our planet! Joking

      August 11, 2012 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. dorian canalizo Daddy

    lol..humans in needs. Pretty typical intelligence.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  6. disgustedvet

    Were I a whaler following International Maritime Laws and all and these green pirates tried to stop my ship from doing legal business,i might not see them in time to keep from sending them to Davy Jone's locker. Ooh too bad greenie weenies.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Bone head..... the whaling and shark finning activities are ILLEGAL!!! Try reading up on the facts before posting stupid comments.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Blaggjesus

      Are you so brainwashed that reason doesn't even work on you... Fox news says suck and you just drop to your knees, don't ya!

      August 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • disgustedvet

      Obviously i hit a nerve in the "greenie -weenie " community. Heh,heh,heh. I accomplished my mission.Thanks weenies .

      August 9, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ron

    All that has happened is nothing more than a way to entertain TV viewers and make piles of money for the producers of
    a reality show. The captain is getting exactly what he wants, PUBLICITY.The only drawback is now it's starting to backfire.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Richard in Texas

    I am all for saving endangered animals but these people are just out and out terrorists. I still find it hard to believe that they have a national television show.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Terrorists!? Grow up.... Americans call ANYONE that doesn't agree with them 'terrorists'.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • realtexan

      Couldn't agree with you more. Call me old fashioned but I still believe in humans over animals. This guy really has no regard for either. it makes me ill that he takes advantage of people who have a real desire to do something good.

      August 10, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Richard and real Texan why did you guys fight against the Mexican army at the alamo- Thought human life was more important than animals or say a chuck of land? See if fighting for land is a good call then fighting for life even if its a whale is a greater call! Hope this clears things up for you!

      August 11, 2012 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. PJ

    Whales say: Tsunami? WHAT Tsunami? HA! HA! Come on in!!! Water's fine!!! HA! HA!

    August 9, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Brian Benoit

    Go Paul Go! The people commenting here can keep cluck cluck clucking away...

    August 9, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      Let me guess, you also support the criminal actions of ALF.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Right on Brian!!!

      August 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. benji

    Where is Moby Dick when you need him?

    August 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JennB

    Just lame. I wish they would leave him alone. I don't blame him...to be left in the hands of Costa Rica or Guatemala? No thanks. Their own citizens risk their lives and travels thousand and thousands of miles to get out of there. They are shady and upset that he busted an illegal shark finning operation...I'm sure they had their hands in that pocket and are angry their money got messed with. If you haven't seen a video on shark finning, I highly suggest you watch some on youtube....that is NO WAY to treat an animal; the poor thing is mutilated and then thrown back into the ocean alive with no way to swim and certainly bleeds to death. I can't imagine cutting a person's arms off and then just pushing it back onto the street. wish Paul Watson the best of luck and I fully support him. I hope that the abuse which is done to our oceans (and many times in "protected" waters) is stopped! I would hate for my son to never have a chance to see the ocean the way I did growing up – clean, fruitful with the animals living FREELY in their habitat.

    August 9, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      Yeah, that's the ticket. Lets fight criminal activity with more criminal activity. Do you also support the criminal activity of ALF even though they commit crimes against those conducting themselves legally?

      August 9, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      AGREE 100% JennB!!!

      August 9, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Obama Mama

    Time to shave the beard and die the hair.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dutchtowner

    arr,throw him in the brig..................

    August 9, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Obama Mama

    How long can you run and is there a statute of limitation on his offense in Costa Rico? Let's boycott costa rica.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Obama Mama he does not have to run as it is not a warrant yes he can be held in any of 190 countries but is free in opened water and most Countries will ignore this warrant like the last one until a political favour is called in etc

      August 11, 2012 at 3:05 am | Report abuse |
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