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. John

    How can I get a donation to this guy. Maybe next time he won't miss.

    August 9, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  2. tanthonys

    He's just an obvious terrorist. Send his butt to jail.

    August 9, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Blue

    Guess I'm not here to judge the guy or his motivations. If the organization decided to back up the action for something from 2007 that has already been viewed by the public going on 5 years, they probably had good reason. I've seen the show numerous times. Can't fault them. In fact, they have my full support.

    August 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Moe Szyslak

    Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherds are affiliated with convicted criminals such as Rod Coronado, who burnt the Michigan State University research facility down. Just do a search for Rod Coronado.

    August 9, 2012 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • MARTINO

      Yup, do I think what he did was right? No, BUT he was standing by what he believed in and that was to end vivisection. Paul stands up to protect our natural sea animals. You sir or madame are supporting terrorism to our ecosystem. SHAME

      August 9, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. jusme101

    Well, after reading the article still not seeing why the guy jumped bail then... If he's so "right".... Why run ????? Because he's going down is why.... Fellas not as right as he lets on....

    August 9, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRod

      Because he will be killed in Costa Rica. You'd run too.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Moe Szyslak

    Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherds are affiliated with terrorists and convicted criminals such as Rod Coronado, who burnt the Michigan State University research facility down. Just do a search for Rod Coronado.

    August 9, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • BRod

      He has just as much right to be on the ocean as the whalers do.

      August 9, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. BRod

    Costa Rica will kill him. I'd run too.

    August 9, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  8. C

    I saw a few episodes, and he did pose a great danger and threat to other ships. I remember them throwing some sort of chemicals on a ship, and that is very dangerous for a crew. He deserves to be put in prison along with the rest of his crew.

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

      These chemicals are just stink bombs. He is fighting for a good cause. Check your facts again.

      August 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DavidT

    The face of a modern psychopath. Sea Shepherd are true terrorists; everything they do, all of what they're about, is nothing so altruistic as "conservation" but rather just for the sake of getting their own publicity and funding, masked behind a very noble-sounding cause. They scuttle their own ships and blame others, constantly endanger those they claim not to be endangering, lie and break laws everywhere they go, and grandstand for the camera the whole time. In the end what do they actually accomplish in terms of true environmental or conservational improvement? Absolutely nothing, except again fattening their own pockets. There are many who have bought into their lies (and I was one, for a time), but folks have woken up to this group of criminals posing as philanthropists. Kudos to Costa Rica and Interpol for taking the necessary steps...arrest them all and lock them up for good.

    August 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Wow!!! You REALLY have NO CLUE what you are talking about do you?

      August 9, 2012 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chinaman imposters

      You sound like from China?

      August 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • CARLA

      perhaps the next time your swimming in the ocean someone should come along and chop off your leg or arm and than throw you back! the practice of hunting animals for these supposed exotic foods has got to stop. can't they eat normal like the rest of us?

      August 10, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachael

      I haven't any evidence to support your claim. Shark finning should be stopped. Whaling should be stopped. Humans must stop destroying our oceans! This man should be left alone and Costa Rica sanctions for not doing enough to protect the oceans!

      August 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Molly the Red Coat

    I wonder if I have truly read this article correctly... A man is being hunted and will be prosecuted once he is found because he is accused of endangering a fishing vessel near Guatemala in 2002? No, no, no! They are doing this all wrong. They should not be prosecuting the people who are hopelessly trying to stop the destruction of animals and their habitats. They should be prosecuting the ones who are out there thoughtlessly killing the creatures of this planet and making this world a living hell. It seems to me that many humans are simply confused and mentally deficient when it comes to customary principles, priorities and notions. They are building this world upon mass consumerism and merely certain groups of specific people are making any profit. They are not striving to bring forth the idea of caring for the natural world, rather, providing us with unjust situations and unenlightened guidance which are causing us to run in the wrong direction. I shall continue to remain disappointed with humanity.

    August 9, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Its all about money Molly... and in the shark fin trade there is LOTS of it! THIS is the reason they are trying to stop Capt. Watson.

      August 9, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachael

      @Molly the Red Coat-I agree with you! The destruction of our oceans and abuse of wild life must stop. There is NO excuse for cutting off the fins of sharks to sell to China. All eating and killing of endangered animals must be stopped. I would like an Interpol wanted notice to go out for the countries that still allow whaling and hunting sharks. That should have a firmly enforced international ban. I would 100% support the US Navy enforcing it too. Stop killing wild animals for trivial human pleasure!!!

      August 10, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John R

    Violating international law in order to uphold international law doesn't make any sense. The actions of Paul and his crew are just as illegal as the actions they are attempting to stop. He and the rest of his crew should be expending the efforts and resources to have the laws strenghthened and enforced by the proper authorities instead of the blatant and illegal vigilante actions they take.

    August 9, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      OMG, an american talking about breaking international laws.... how hypocritical. Remember Iraq?

      August 9, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      @ John R
      Batman is a vigilantly and his actions (however fiction) are regarded as being heroic.
      Just say’in

      @ Rick
      Is every Muslim responsible for 9/11? The why is every American responsible for Iraq?
      You’re an idiot.

      August 10, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      If what the Sea Shephard folks say is true 'permission from the Guatemalan authorities to detain and two the boat' then they were following the law if this happened in Guatemalan waters. In fact the Costa Rican vessel should have been forfeited and its captain fined and loss of license at a minimum for fishing in another country's waters. It sounds like his concern is that no matter his guilt or innocence if he turns himself over to the Costa Rican authorities he will be going to prison in that country. I'm actually a bit surprised by that one. Costa Rica is actually a very well governend country really. I've been there several times for lengthy stays for work and alwyas found it pleasant and most definitely 'law abiding'. His better bet would have been to contact his country's consultate while in Germany. Pay the bail and work the system fighting extradition if necessary but do it legally. This way just radicalizes him and his organization.

      August 10, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
    • realtexan

      Of course you're right, but no one wants to hear that what sounds like a conservation mission is really just testerone gone amock. I believe the crew's heart is in the right place (if not their mind), but the Captain is a glory hog who really has no respect for the law, or the lives of anyone around him.

      August 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sharpy

      John R Thus if you saw a crime say a child is about to be killed and you could act and stop it you would not? Because it would be vigilantism you would let the child die??? You really believe that your crime to act would be as bad as the crime to kill- Why?

      August 11, 2012 at 4:12 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ian

    The chemicals are NOT 'just' stink bombs, they are butyric acid, derived from rotten butter. It induces nausea in addition to being hard to remove, and is also often used by the upstanding types who rag abortion clinics, same bunch of ne'er-do-well hippies with nothing better to do than whine when they use a million dollar cigarette boat to ram a much larger ship then are surprised when it sinks – maybe they should use a little less of the 'green' and practice a little more of the 'peace'. I met him once years ago for less than five minutes, but left with a lasting impression of self-aggrandizement. Rest in pieces, Ady Gill. Yuk yuk yuk . . .where's Moby Dick when you need him?

    August 9, 2012 at 7:26 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GoWhalers

    This show makes me root for the whalers. He is a liar (I got shot) and a criminal.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Yeah, you have to admire the physics and the odds of that 'magic bullet'.

      August 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Maybe he convinced himself he's an endangered specie.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Keith

    Sea Sheppard and Greenpeace should both be charged with piracy.

    August 9, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
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