Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson has spent months in exile at sea since a Red Notice was issued by Interpol on behalf of Costa Rica and Japan. Watson fled Germany in order to avoid extradition. He recently told ’60 Minutes of his temporary ocean home, “Well it’s a pretty nice prison. It’s you know– I don’t mind being on the ocean. It’s a beautiful place and certainly the citizens out here tend to be more peaceful.”
But now, Watson is finally back on land and in the United States. Sea Shepherd Australia posted a photo to their Facebook page just hours ago showing Watson with a group of excited-looking Sea Shepherds, as well as supporter Robert Kennedy, Jr. who wanted to be there to welcome the captain back.
Director of Sea Shepherd Australia, Jeff Hansen writes, “Dear Sea Shepherd family, I can confirm that after many months at sea and a life in exile, Captain Paul Watson is now safely back on land in the states…I am sure we can all raise a glass to Paul in saying, welcome back mate. We hope we can see you in Australia one day soon, as the greater whale loving people of Australia, New Zealand and the world have missed you.”
While Costa Rica’s Interpol Red Notice has been lifted, Watson and Sea Shepherd are set to defend themselves in court against charges brought by Japan. “Captain Paul was not arrested upon entry in the the United States and is there to testify in defence of his name in the contempt of court proceedings against himself from the illegal whale poachers from Japan. (Former Australian Greens leader) Bob Brown and myself will also be testifying as well in Seattle, early on next week,” says Hansen.
Watson added on his Facebook page, “I have returned to the United States. The Interpol Red Notice from Costa Rica has been dropped. I will challenge the Japan notice in the U.S. if required. Heading to Seattle to defend Sea Shepherd and myself from the SLAPP civil suit launched by the Japanese whalers. We carry on with our efforts to save the oceans, undeterred and undaunted.”
Sea Shepherd has called last year’s Antarctic anti-whaling campaign, Operation Zero Tolerance, their most dangerous but most successful campaign to date, saying their crew were able to save 932 whales. The organization plans to return to the Southern Ocean in December in this year’s Operation Relentless.