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. Oski

    He is a criminal and the acts of piracy and terror he commits on the high seas are atrocious. He needs to be stopped before he kills someone.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |

    Robert, if "someone" were not doing it, nothing would be done at all.
    People can hate those that "break the rules" so to speak... But often there would be No change without fighting some of them.

    "Pirate" is a silly term to use for this guy. He's fighting the bad guys. People destroying the resources of this planet and going unchecked in most cases except by those such as himself. The true "pirates" in this case are those robbing the earth and feeding their greed. By illegal and inhumane hunti ng of these animals.. Not for survival purposes or using all of the animal to live.. BUT just selling what makes them money.

    I can't believe illegal or not, the excuses we make in the world for the true criminals (letting them get away with it) and people actually think few like this guy should be punished for trying to stop it. Because his maniacal means are "too much". What a joke! Those with true power do nothing about the illegal hunting problem. But lets punish the little guy who tries.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. michelle hopper

    I think that he should have to stand up for skipping out on the orders to not leave Germany, BUT.... his tactics are okay!!

    August 9, 2012 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |

    Robert, Seriously. Not much good has come from Costa Rica to the rest of the world. Yes, It's beautiful country in many places, especially in safe tourist resorts apart from the in country.

    Drugs like many other latin american countries have been a huge product of that nation and their government is hardly ethical. The officials there would not care less about it, if there was not a possible something in it for them- out of the deal. Like a pay off from those that poach for this guys imprisonment. Don't kid yourself Robert. Much less anyone else. All this is about for the governement there is MONEY.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      I would like to know how many years of Costa Rican' studies have you taken at the university or as an academic person researching the country, please share qith us your brilliant CV in order to take more seriously you "highly intellectual" description of the country.... By the way, in which universe do you live at, show me one country without drug and/or political problems and I will read your comments with a little more respect,

      August 9, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Long time Sea Shepherd supporter

    I just wrote Sea Shepherd another fat check.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Josh

      Your money should help with bail. All of these guys are far left enviro-losers. They belong in jail.

      August 9, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Randy K

    Stop the US Tourist dollars flowing in to Costa Rica and then see where they stand on the issue,

    August 9, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. DIng Dong

    I think maybe there are larger criminals at large that warrant more time, effort, and funds than this dude.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ken

    It's not cool that he endangers HUMAN lives to save whales, dolphins etc... I don't agree with killing any beautiful creatures but endangering human lives is something to be considered. He would have been a hero if he didn't run off like that. I lost respect for the guy.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • catLoversInc

      Even if the human is a criminal? you are sad...These creatures are not being protected for their beauty but they are ABSOLUTELY necessary for OUR survival. We need them for the human race to continue on this planet. Unfortunately you will never try and understand that fact.

      August 9, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kent

      Did you not read that no one was injured or in danger of any of the charges brought forth?

      August 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      Ken our live are tyed to those animals so killing them is killing you/us etc get it! I've seen police endanger peoples lives to protect property like the G20 at least this is a living thing!

      August 11, 2012 at 4:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. vicki

    Thank you Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd!

    August 9, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • patrick

      Right on Vikki !

      August 9, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • patrick

      My apologies miss VICKI for the misspelling.

      August 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Michael in Houston

    Apparently, Captain Watson and the Sea Shephard society are quite serious when it comes to shutting down the obscene butchery of sea life that goes on around the world. I for one am glad we have warriors like him and his crew that will stop at nothing to stop the insanity of those who kill magnificent creatures for nothing more then soup.

    Tell Costa Rica AND Germany to drop their charges and leave the man alone. He is ours and he belongs to humanity.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • patrick

      Well said Michael....glad to see people like you can see the insanity of all of this!

      August 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Frank

    He's staying in Sam Simon's guest house (co creator of The Simpsons)....seriously

    August 9, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Love for Houses

    What the hell is slandering houses? Chimps sometimes rip the faces and genitals off humans.

    August 9, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  13. 1of7billion

    Paul Watson is a hero for the humane treatment of animals. Not everyone shares or understands why people would dedicate their lives for a cause as this because they feel animals are irrelevant and disposable. Some people dont have it within them to learn and understand the complex eco-structure that makes the whole life process happen on this planet. There are many regulations in the world to protect that process but there are greedy corporate companys and poachers who break these regulations for easy profit. If we slack on conservation and dont do more regardless of your beliefs many animals will just vanish and there is no going back. Take away Paul and there will be many to take his place who wont be as compassionate as him.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. colloctor

    This man, his crew and everyone who supports this mission is a HERO!!! The REAL kind!

    August 9, 2012 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Gimblecat

    I will vote for Obama. I want to see all you stupud idiots suffer under what he will do for this country. Wait until you pay $15.00 a gallon for gas. $65.00 for a steak if you can get it. This is where you are heading and I will laugh at your complaints. Soldiers will walk the streets to maintain order. You will get free contraceptives because Obie 1 wants to reduce our population, Medicare will be there but you will pay $25,000 deductable. O yes, life will be fun for the stupid clowns and then Obie 1 will halt all voting. You will have him for life. By then I will be dead but from a comfortable spot on the clouds I will watch and laugh at you incredible sightless stupidity.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kent

      No one is forcing anyone to take contraceptives. The population does need to slow down on its growth rate anyways. You are a very scared person.

      August 9, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
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