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Germans arrest Sea Shepherd founder

The Local · 14 May 2012, 16:44

Published: 14 May 2012 07:56 GMT+02:00
Updated: 14 May 2012 16:44 GMT+02:00

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The veteran anti-whaling campaigner, a Canadian national, was detained in Frankfurt on Sunday on charges stemming from a high seas confrontation over shark finning in 2002.

He is accused of having "put a ship's crew in danger" in the incident, a Frankfurt prosecutor said.

Watson's lawyer Oliver Wallasch said that after a hearing Monday that his client must remain in custody until the Costa Rican extradition request is considered, adding that he did not know how long the process would take.

"My client is shocked," Wallasch said.

A media report in Australia, citing Costa Rican reports, said he also faced an outstanding warrant for attempted murder during the same incident.

"The German police have said that the warrant for Captain Watson's arrest is in response to an alleged violation of ships traffic in Costa Rica, which occurred during the filming of 'Sharkwater' in 2002," Sea Shepherd said.

The specific "violation of ships traffic" incident took place in Guatemalan waters when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal shark finning operation, run by a Costa Rican ship called the Varadero, it added in a statement.

"On order of the Guatemalan authorities, Sea Shepherd instructed the crew of the Varadero to cease their shark finning activities and head back to port to be prosecuted," the group said.

It claimed that while escorting the Varadero back to port, the tables were turned and a Guatemalan gunboat was dispatched to intercept the Sea Shepherd crew.

"The crew of the Varadero accused the Sea Shepherds of trying to kill them, while the video evidence proves this to be a fallacy," said the group, which was set up in 1977 to campaign against the slaughter of ocean wildlife.

"To avoid the Guatemalan gunboat, Sea Shepherd then set sail for Costa Rica, where they uncovered even more illegal shark finning activities in the form of dried shark fins by the thousands on the roofs of industrial buildings."

Watson was being assisted while in prison by members of the European Parliament Daniel Cohn-Bendit and Jose Bove, Sea Shepherd added.

Our hope is that these two honourable gentlemen can set Captain Watson free before this nonsense goes any further," the group said.

Sea Shepherd is best known for its annual pursuit of the Japanese whaling fleet in Antarctica, using increasingly militant ways to halt the hunt.

Story continues below…

This year, after setting off from Australia, the group hurled stink bombs at the boats on the high seas and used ropes to try to tangle their propellers in a series of exchanges which saw the whalers retaliate with water cannon.

The whaling fleet killed less than a third of the animals it planned to because of the sabotage attempts.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:08 May 14, 2012 by Bill Simpson
You are going to risk making the Canadians very mad. We Americans, on the other hand, love whales, and Canadian oil. Although Obama thinks we can run the entire place on green solar panels, mostly imported from China.

If I were a German, I think I would want to be friends with Canada, the worlds second largest country with vast natural resources, a bit more than with central American countries. But that is just me. They Canadians might not notice. Those Canadians stay pretty busy growing wheat, building hydroelectric dams (Wiki Hydro Quebec, whoa!) mining gold, coal, nickel, diamonds, copper, uranium, and trying to discover a way to get trillions of cubic meters of natural gas out of their permafrost.
12:51 May 14, 2012 by DOZ
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
16:43 May 14, 2012 by JAMessersmith
I think hunting wild animals is far more ethical than slaughtering domesticated ones. Domesticated animals have been conditioned over many generations to trust humans. Some, like pigs, are incredibly smart as well.

Yet, wild animals have no love for humans whatsoever and would kill us just as soon as we'd kill them (see: predatory toothed whales). Besides, in areas where it is difficult to slaughter domesticated land animals, like the Faroe Islands, it makes sense to hunt the resources that are available to you.

And whenever these guys are asked why they are singling out whale hunters, instead of industrial slaughterhouses, they claim it's because whales are intelligent and "big". Pigs may not be quite as big, but they are more intelligent (for example, whales don't even know to dive and turn around when they're being hunted, which is pretty stupid. Pigs, at least, can evade predators from time to time). Yet, bacon is a universally heralded meat, and whale steaks are illegal. Go figure. Perhaps I'd understand the mentality a little better if the species of whales in question were endangered, but by most all accounts (except the Sea Shepherd's) they are not.

I think this mentality stems from the modern tendency to personify animals (which is selective and hypocritical). For example, we admire a whale's intelligence, while overlooking it's beastly cruelty. I've seen nature videos in which orcas hunt down a baby gray whale for days before brutally killing it in front of its mother, only to leave it to rot (they didn't eat it). Similarly, they like to play death games with seals. So, that's what "intelligence" brings (a dark side). The smarter the animal, the greater its propensity for "evil" (see humans). A bug, on the other hand, might do some messed up things, but they do it out of instinct rather than premeditated thought. Predatory toothed whales are intelligent killers, just like humans (a quality the Sea Shepherds loathe in humans but overlook in whales). As for baleen whales, they're basically like the cows of the sea, but at least they're wild and not kept in pens. To me, it seems far more ethical to hunt for your meat than to buy it in a grocery store, but maybe I'm alone on that one.
17:05 May 14, 2012 by hughglass
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:42 May 14, 2012 by vladpootin
You catch a shark, you cut the tail and fin off and dump the carcass overboard...

any questions?
19:52 May 14, 2012 by Staticjumper
The sad truth is that by arresting an ecoterrorist like Watson is that you give him more of what he obsesses about .. fame.
20:20 May 14, 2012 by bramblebush
@Staticjumper: Eco terrorists, contrary to GOP propaganda, are the ones who destroy the environment and cause extinction, such as, the japanese whalers, shark finners, along with a host of other eco destructive activities like, clear cutting forests, strip mining and over populating the planet. Watch something besides FoxNews and you may learn something tangible.
20:57 May 14, 2012 by Staticjumper
LOL @bramblebush. Please try watching something other than Current or Rachel Maddow and maybe watch something like Penn & Teller's Bulls#&t (Season 3 Episode 11 - Endangered Species)or better yet, the current season of "Whale Wars". This delusional narcissist has a long history of running around the world trying to get on camera.

Only someone like Watson can get people to actually support the whalers.

"It doesn't matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true." - Paul Watson
22:12 May 14, 2012 by vonSchwerin
Jose Bove as an "honourable gentleman"? Now that's a joke.
22:14 May 14, 2012 by Foxtrapper
From my vantage point it seems to me that most of the people who are trying to save the wales and sharks are the same breed that think nothing of killing their own unborn baby. Maybe they should open an abortion clinic for sharks so there would not be so many for the greedy humans to make money on.
00:29 May 15, 2012 by anaverageguy
Perhaps a new record. Ten posts from shark finning and reckless behavior on the high seas to abortion.
08:09 May 15, 2012 by DOZ
Shutting down commercial fishing in certain regions for 10 years at a time would make sense, since there is no other way.
09:06 May 15, 2012 by DoubleDTown
maybe the prison diet will help him take some weight off.
10:08 May 15, 2012 by MaKo
:( And what about the shark hunters, will they go to jail, too? #jail wars
23:18 May 15, 2012 by Baal
@Bill Simpson: Canada couldn't care less that Paul Watson's been arrested. He's a real nuisance to seal hunters.
16:29 May 18, 2012 by SirGareth
Some friendly NATO member nation that has a few spare torpedoes needs to use Sea Sheppard for target practice.

This Paul Watson is another misguided misanthrope who thinks the natural world is somehow superior to humanity. One would think that the world has seen enough of this type in the last century alone to last until the end of days.

These environmental extremists are extremely dangerous and need to be dealt with severely.
10:45 May 29, 2012 by notelove2
what's it got to do with Germany????
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