Anti-whaling activist Paul Watson arrested for ramming boat 10 years ago


Los Angeles

An anti-whaling activist, famed for televised confrontations with fishermen, has been arrested for allegedly attempting to use his boat to sink an illegal shark fishing vessel off the coast of Guatemala.

Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, was detained at Frankfurt airport on Sunday on an international warrant filed by Costa Rican authorities accusing him of a "violation of ships traffic" during an incident which occurred 10 years ago, while filming a documentary called Sharkwater.

He is accused of using his ship, the Farley Mowat, to ram a vessel called the Varadero, which was observed conducting illegal shark-finning activities. In claims filed with prosecutors in 2002, several members of the crew described Watson's behaviour as attempted murder.

Charges against Mr Watson were examined by Costa Rican authorities and swiftly dropped, after videotape of the incident was aired. However the case was recently re-opened by new prosecutors who filed the extradition request under which he is now being held.

In a statement, Sea Shepherd said it understood that Mr Watson is in Frankfurt airport jail and will appear in court today.

"He has been given periodic access to his mobile phone and is being treated well. A fisherman accused Paul of trying to kill him, although it is evident that Paul did not and that evidence is on film."

Best known for the Animal Planet series Whale Wars, Watson founder Sea Shepherd in the late 1970s after falling out with Greenpeace, where he had cut his teeth as an anti-whaling activist.

His high-profile supporters include Martin Sheen, Darryl Hannah, Pierce Brosnan and Christian Bale.

He has been arrested on several occasions over the years, and served 10 days in prison in the 1980s for assaulting a policeman while attempting to disrupt a Canadian seal hunt.

These days, he is famed for the highly-aggressive manner in which he attempts to disrupt the activities of mostly-Japanese whaling fleets.

Opponents have called Mr Watson's leadership style egotistical and overbearing, and say that some of his tactics verge on terrorism.

Meanwhile, last year he was the subject of a South Park spoof called Whale Whores.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
musicBand's first new record for 20 years has some tough acts to follow
Life and Style
Shoppers in Covent Garden, London, celebrate after they were the first to buy the iPhone 6, released yesterday
Liam Payne has attacked the media for reporting his tweet of support to Willie Robertson and the subsequent backlash from fans
peopleBut One Direction star insists he is not homophobic
Life and Style
healthFor Pure-O OCD sufferers this is a reality they live in
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvSeries 5 opening episode attracts lowest ratings since drama began
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Website Editor

£15 - £17 Per Hour: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is currently r...

Nursery Assistant Plymouth

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Qualified Nursery nurs...

Primary Teachers needed for supply in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: We are looking to rec...

Primary Supply teaching jobs in Stowmarket

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education ar...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments