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. Ted

    He is a hero. Protecting animals from slaughter. Protecting wildlife.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John

    Good that show is nothing but liberal econut pirates attacking other ships. If you ask me, once an intruder boards any ship that is not theirs...a bullet in the noggin is justified.

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

      If you say yes to any of these things, you probably suck.

      1. Do you believe Fox news?
      2. Do you hate Obama because you believe he is a "Socialist" or "Muslim"?
      3. Do you ever use the term "Them People" to describe a race?
      4. Are you a Tea-Party Supporter?

      August 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Typical american. Guns, guns, guns....kill kill kill. Im surprised the US isnt down there killing whales in the antarctic just for fun.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      John bad form you sound worse than what you blame Paul for! Tsk Tsk

      August 11, 2012 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. the_dude

    Good I hope he remains free and that other good people hide him and that someone drops a bomb on the turd world nations that still practice this barbaric act of killing sharks so rich orientals can have a special soup.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • twirtzy

      His group says that what happened there was not illegal. So stand up and fight instead of illegally jumping bail. He could bring more attention to his cause if publicly fought these charges in court rather than going on the lamb. Imagine the attention he could bring to Costa Rica and the practice of shark finning if he wasn't such a coward. Guess it's ok to put others at risk to make your point, but not ok to risk your own freedom. He is a coward posing as a do gooder.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dave

    Just another cheap, cowardly terrorist.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigDaddyP

      what planet are you living on??

      August 9, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      This guy's no different or better than the members of the PETA, ELF and ALF terror organizations.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Whatever

      Thats a lie..Paul is a HERO!! They will kill everything in the SEA

      August 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Pine forest

    Thank you Paul Watson for protecting animals: you are a man of courage and faith!

    August 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • stan

      he's in the business of making money, not protecting animals

      August 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bob

    Regardless of his "compassion" watching him a few time I wonder how he maintains a captain's license. He is a poor excuse at the helm.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Bob your off topic and sound jealous-do you not have a captains license? Were sorry!

      August 11, 2012 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. WDinDallas


    August 9, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charles Gannon

      Can't, he is gone !

      August 9, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. walso

    I hope they bring this clown to justice. He does nothing but put people's lives at risk and makes conservationists look like a bunch of loons to the rest of the world. He has a complete disregard for the safety of his crew or the crew of the ship they attack. There are better ways of activism than being a terrorist. What he does is criminal. In this case, jumping bail is nothing but an admission of guilt.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • TrueGrissel

      Walso<<<< even Greenpeace denounces him and his tactics.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      walso what better ways? If you saw a child being killed you would not intervene? you would let the innocent die while going through the proper channels! You see Paul Watson would act this makes him a Hero and you a coward sadly; you should aspire to become a better human being walso good luck!

      August 11, 2012 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
  9. TrueGrissel

    I figured someday he'd be charged, should be piracy.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |

    ? Who's a Terrorist? There's nothing wrong with legalized hunting of certain game animals either. Ex: Deer, certain bears etc.. But Whales & Sharks should not be hunted and it's illegal. Costa Rica is a joke. They have been a "criminal nation" themselves. Interpol is pathetic to waste their time with this. Feel lucky the sea shepards only interfere.. if it were me, I'd torpedo all international ships guilty of shark finning and whale hunting. They deserve to be sunk and dead in the water.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      I AGREE 100% DeepBlue.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Then you would have navies seeking you out to blow you out the waters. Best case scenario you would be imprisoned in a country where human rights for inmates is problematic.

      August 9, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      @Robert which is why Pauls methods work and do not break any laws!

      August 11, 2012 at 3:25 am | Report abuse |
  11. NorCalMojo

    Part of civil disobedience is paying the price.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. That would be the way to go

    This guy is a vigilante and a saboteur (and a tool) and he deserves whatever he gets when they catch him – and I hope they do. As for "reality tv" encouraging him... whats next, a show about the people who drive spikes into trees with the hope of injuring (killing!) loggers? I think the tv station is dangerously close to being on the hook.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • fish hooks

      I know a fella who was trying to protect his "crops" which had been "stolen" on a couple occasions.....he put fish hooks along the entire stem of his crops and when the theives came in the middle of the night to tear them out of the ground, they got more than they bargained for....

      August 9, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • sane


      August 9, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Rick

    WOW You really have no clue do you?

    August 9, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mdanger

    I love this guy. He states many times that he's a crazy extremist and that he actively puts human life in danger for the sake of these animals- because no one else will. To be fair, the lives he puts in danger are his own and those on his crew who know the risks, as well as those who are commiting crimes so I guess I don't have a lot of compassion for the 'poor' whalers. I'm glad that he does this, he has brought tons of attention to the issue in an international forum.

    August 9, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. guest

    you must be joking or a troll. 1) most species of sharks are on the threatend or endangered species list, 2) their bodies generally rot on the ocean floor and feed no one and 3) their fins are cut off while they are alive and their pain riddled bodies are thrown back into the water to slowly and agonizingly die.

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