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German Police Arrest Captain Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd
Captain Paul Watson was arrested on May 12 in Germany for extradition to Costa Rica. 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. The specific “violation of ships traffic” incident took place on the high seas in Guatemalan waters, when Sea Shepherd encountered an illegal shark finning operation, run by a Costa Rican ship called the Varadero.
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. 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. 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.
Conservationists around the world maintain hope that the Costa Ricans will drop the charges against Captain Watson. There is also a chance that the charges have already been dropped, but Sea Shepherd has been unable to confirm that with the Costa Rican officials. With Costa Rica’s rich biodiversity, it would be a travesty for them not to stand up for sharks, which sit at the highest levels of the food chain assuring balance among ecological communities in the ocean.
While in jail, Captain Watson is being assisted by the European Parliament Vice President Daniel Cohn Bendit and the European deputy Jose Bove. Our hope is that these two honorable gentlemen can set Captain Watson free before this nonsense goes any further. The European Sea Shepherds have also mobilized to support Captain Watson.
As the plight of the sharks becomes more desperate, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has begun to outline a new shark campaign for 2012. Julie Andersen, founder of Shark Savers and Shark Angels, has joined Sea Shepherd to lead our global campaign to save sharks from extinction.
Sea Shepherd will use its expertise and experience, as well as media savvy, to empower people around the world to take back their sharks—an animal critical to their, as well as the global, environment and economy.
Sea Shepherd is offering its assistance to countries around the world to enforce international and local laws, end ruthless poaching, patrol marine sanctuaries under attack, implement high tech defenses and empower locals through training and the provision of resources to take on the battle. Sea Shepherd will also fight a war of public opinion, changing everything we know about an animal most despised.
The first stop will be the South Pacific, where the team will be headed in June.
“We’ve got all the laws we need to protect sharks," said Julie Andersen, shark campaign director. "Now we will leverage our resources and expertise to help countries around the globe enforce them. Using Galapagos as a model, we will travel wherever we are needed—enforcing local laws while developing strategies and training locals to defend their sharks, fueling world-wide enforcement efforts.”
For more information, click here.
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A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.
"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."
The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.
My god, White Island volcano in New Zealand erupted today for first time since 2001. My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable. #whiteisland pic.twitter.com/QJwWi12Tvt— Michael Schade (@sch) December 9, 2019
Michael Schade / Twitter
At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.
The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.
Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.
"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."
Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.
Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.
"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.
"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."
The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.
Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.
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