Eco-warrior and reality TV star, Paul Watson, has been sued amid claims that he secretly sank a boat he had borrowed and blamed its demise on Japanese whalers.
Paul Watson with Nisshin Maru in the background
Marine conservationist and Sea Shepherd founder Paul Watson has found TV stardom on the series 'Whale Wars', and now stands accused of sabotaging the vessel, Ady Gil to gain more publicity for his life-long battle against whaling and boost his fundraising efforts.
The 62-year-old is being sued by the vessel's owner and namesake, Ady Gil who loaned the boat to the crew and cast of Whale Wars.
A lawsuit was filed by Mr Gil on Monday at an LA court seeking $5million in damages from Mr Watson, who is a co-founder of Greenpeace and head of the Sea Shepherd Society.
Mr Gil, a Los Angeles-based millionaire businessman, contends that the boat only had damage to the nose after it was rammed by Japanese fisherman in 2010 and could have been repaired.
Gil donated $1 million to the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which named the black trimaran – a three hulled craft – after him.
Ady Gil sits by a picture of his boat, the Ady Gil, which was rammed and split open by a whaling ship near Antarctica, Wednesday, January 6, 2010. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff Photographer)
Watson resigned from his role as head of the Sea Shepherd society this week.
The civil lawsuit adds to the woes of Mr Watson who is at the centre of a legal battle to have him extradited to Costa Rica to face a 2002 attempted murder charge. The charges stem from an incident where Watson and the team from Sea Shepherd allegedly endangered the lives of a fishing boat crew in 2002.
Watson has said that the team spotted a Costa Rican fishing boat hunting for sharks in Guatemalan waters.