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. Inky

    He should do well in his new profession as Santa Claus at Macy's.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Adam

    A liar and a criminal. Golly gee...I am shocked.

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

      To Davy Jones locker with the scoundrel!!

      August 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigD

      Golly G? Well at least your comment was edifying... Do you understand sarcasm? I wonder.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tct

    He's no longer an activist, civil disobedience requires accepting the consequences of your actions to advance your cause.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sco*

      Real talk....

      August 9, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. patrick

    Aperantly..300 thousand isnt as important to him as his freedom from politically based eco rapists ! This man has more funding, more money than you or i will ever see! "big fat idiot" is hardly the term i think applies. I would much rather see sharks swimming in their waters....then floating in my soup. Someone needs to take a stand for those who cannot stand for themselves. When before if they become extinct..people will condemn and point fingers as to who was involved. I believe sir, that you are sounding like the "big fat idiot".

    August 9, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bob

    An ocean going militia man. Who cares about laws as long as one feels they are morally justified..... just ask Al Queda.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • carpenterman123

      As long as someone claims "good intentions" it's all good

      August 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jonathon

      Yeah lets just let them go on destroying the world oceans, until we no longer have a fishing industry. Then the world's poor can replace their biggest protein source with dirt. In my opinion he should have shot everyone of them on that fishing vessel and sunk it. Shark finning will never end until we instill fear into those who break the law and continue to mass murder the top predator in the oceanic food chain. All so the Chinese with their endowment problem can feel better about their small packages. I'm an avid surfer and if anything I should be afraid of sharks, but people who know anything about the ocean know that sharks are necessary part of the ecosystem, and they shouldn't be feared they should be respected.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. shacho

    Too many animal & plant protection group who harm human. Even though original mission was good, people inside these gruop abose it's power and act opposite to what they claim. It is very simple, you just watch people's action to judge them, not what they claim. This white hiar criminal is one and now his action resulted to prove what he actually is so his group. Any cable network contine to sponcer such orgnization must be stripped off its FCC lisense so is his native country which suponcer his criminal activties resulted serious injury to other nationals.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • adam

      .....says the guy who can't spell

      August 9, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. ChippyChan

    Me rike shark fin soup. It make my pee pee strong.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Joe

    Perhaps Costa Rica should be brought up on charges of neglecting to prosecute animal cruelty/illegal poaching?

    August 9, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. whattime

    Arrest the California Rump Ranger crew as accessories. They are all worthless incompetent terrorists.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. aao

    " 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" – lol, what a tool. Should we start attacking farmers and restaurant owners now?

    August 9, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      Yes if the restaurant owners are selling endangered species and no to farmers.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Report abuse |
  11. YGBKM

    The star of Whale Wars is a whale. Shocking.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Emigdio Alvarez

    I checked the ICPO's website. he's wanted by Costa Rica and is under a Red Notice.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ca Ed

      Gee, it must be Déjà vu.
      I feel that I just read about these same things.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. 22X Richer

    Abiding by international law has never been this guy's strong suit.

    August 9, 2012 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Whale Watcher

    I strongly support Paul Watson. God bless Paul Watson and The Sea Shepherd. The world is lucky to have such heros.

    August 9, 2012 at 6:05 pm | Report abuse |
  15. GoDucks73

    Ahab and his albatross have done more damage to the environment motoring around the oceans in fossil fuel burning behemoths than their actions will ever be worth. Hope I go sailing some day, I'm going to send Ahab and his crews to Davy Jones' locker...

    August 9, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
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