Sea Shepherd Conservation Society founder Captain Paul Watson announced a new ship this week, given a very special name.
On his Facebook page, Watson wrote, “Sea Shepherd UK has acquired a new addition to the Sea Shepherd fleet to be named the Jairo Mora Sandoval in honour of the 26 year old sea turtle conservationist who was murdered last month at Playa Moin beach on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.” Watson also posted a picture of the late activist who worked with WIDECAST, the Wider Carribean Sea Turtle Conservation Network.
According to Smithsonian Magazine, Sandoval worked to protect sea turtles from poachers and raised awareness about the link between poaching and drug trafficking. Costa Rican authorities and Sandoval’s fellow activists believe he was murdered by drug traffickers. He was also reportedly threatened at gunpoint prior to his death.
The news of the new Sea Shepherd ship comes after Watson offered a reward for information about Sandoval’s death. Sea Shepherd wrote on their Facebook, “Captain Paul Watson has announced today that he is offering a $30,000 U.S. reward for information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the murder of Jairo Mora Sandoval, the Costa Rican conservationist who was recently murdered by narco trafficking turtle egg poachers at Playa Moín on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Jairo was kidnapped, beaten, and shot in the head by turtle poachers armed with AK-47 rifles.”
The organization linked Sandoval’s brutal murder to Watson’s potential extradition to Costa Rica and the danger he would face. They wrote, “Costa Rican authorities told Captain Watson last year that he should not be concerned about the $25,000 bounty that shark poachers have offered for his own head. The murder of Jairo Mora Sandoval is sufficient evidence that Captain Watson’s life would be in extreme danger if he were to be extradited to Costa Rica.” Watson was arrested in Germany in 2002 on a warrant for alleged violations during a 2002 campaign against illegal shark finning in Costa Rica. Since being released on bail, Watson has remained at sea in an undisclosed location.
Captain Watson says the S.S. Jairo Mora Sandoval will be unveiled by Sea Shepherd in August.