Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson received an unexpected surprise upon visiting Portugal this week for the International Whaling Commission (IWC) Conference: he was arrested.
According to news agencies, a 30-year-old warrant had been issued against Paul Watson for the 1980 ramming by Sea Shepherd of the pirate whaling ship the Sierra. The Australian director of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, Jeff Hansen, told ABC News that Mr. Watson was released after four hours of questioning. “Paul had lengthy discussions with the police in northern Portugal and they determined that the warrant had actually expired in 2008 so there was no valid reason for them to hold him,” he said.
Sea Shepherd’s most public campaign to date has been their annual pursuit of the Japanese Whaling fleet, as documented in Animal Planet’s Whale Wars series. Watson said he was surprised by Portugal’s move to arrest him — especially since he’s visited the country time and time again with no problems. “But it was like last year in Chile, I was hassled a bit…,” he said. “Chileans told me it was because Japan had put in a complaint and they wanted to question me about what I was doing at the International Whaling Commission meeting. So I’m not really quite sure if Japan was behind this.”
Thanks to Cid for the tip!