Interpol has issued a Red Notice seeking the arrest of the head of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Paul Watson, with Costa Rican authorities accuse him of violating maritime law, according to a statement published on the Interpol website on Tuesday.
A Canadian citizen, Watson was arrested in Germany in May, and subsequently released on bail of 250,000 euros. After the German court decided to hand Watson, 61, over to Costa Rica he skipped bail and fled the country.
“The Red Notice request is based on a national arrest warrant issued by Costa Rican authorities for Mr Watson, who is wanted for prosecution in relation to a charge of ‘causing a danger of drowning or of an air disaster’ in connection with an incident in April 2002,” the statement reads.
In 2002 while filming a documentary in Guatemalan territorial waters activists of the vessel Sea Shepherd ran into the Costa Rican ship Varadero which was engaged in illegally hunting sharks. Environmentalists urged the crew to stop their actions and return to a port in Costa Rica.
After some time, the Guatemala Coast Guard sent a boat to intercept the Sea Shepherd but the environmentalists managed to escape. Later, the crew members of Varadero accused the activists of allegedly threatening to kill the sailors.
According to the Sea Shepherd, Costa Rican authorities have no evidence. After this incident Watson was put on an international wanted list.
At the end of December 2011 Japanese Institute of Cetacean Research, the organizer of the annual expeditions to Antarctica, filed a lawsuit against the Sea Shepherd. Japanese researchers called on the activists to stop actions which damage whaling vessels and impede their work.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was founded in 1977 in the United States and is opposed to whaling in the Antarctic. It actively tries to prevent Japanese whalers hunting marine mammals, and has, on a number of occasions water-jet gun volleys with whaling vessels.
In February 2011 the ‘super’ boat of environmental activists, Ady Gil, sank after colliding with a whaling vessel. After that its captain Peter Bethune was arrested and faced a Japanese court for illegal entry onto the Japanese ship.