January: The Sea Shepherd II transits the Panama Canal for the second time, now en route to Grenada. The ship delivers a cargo of relief supplies to St. George’s Grenada before the ship departs for Portland, Maine.
January: The crew of the Sea Shepherd II, having witnessed the deplorable conditions in the St. George’s zoo, raids the zoo at night and released all the primates. Each monkey is sedated and released in the jungle on the island. Captain Watson responds to criticism of the release by saying Sea Shepherd did not bring the monkeys to Grenada and his crew would not sit by and watch the animals abused without doing what was needed to alleviate their suffering. “Besides,” he said, “these primates cannot possibly do more damage than the primate Homo sapiens already has to this island.”
February: The Sea Shepherd II undergoes final preparations for a seal campaign in Portland, Maine. Captain Watson appears on the Today Show and debates Jim Winters of the Canadian government.
March: The Sea Shepherd II blockades the harbor at St. John’s, Newfoundland, and prevents the Canadian sealing fleet from leaving for two weeks. The Sea Shepherd II then moves to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and escorts four sealing ships away from the harp seal nursery.
April: The Sea Shepherd II moves into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and escorts three sealing ships out of the harp seal nursery. RCMP and Canadian Coast Guard units ram and board the Sea Shepherd II in a tear-gas assault on the ice north of Nova Scotia.
Captain Watson and nineteen crewmembers are arrested on the Sea Shepherd II and are charged with conspiracy to violate the Seal Protection Act – i.e., approaching within a half a mile of a seal hunt and interfering with seal-killing.
June: The Sea Shepherd crew are tried in Perce, Quebec, and convicted of violating the Seal Protection Act. The political agenda protecting the seal hunt is reflected in severity of the sentences imposed. Captain Watson is sentenced to 15 months in prison for conspiracy to violate the Seal Protection Act and another 6 months for violating the Seal Protection Act by approaching within a half a nautical mile of a seal hunt. In addition to a 21-month prison term, Captain Watson is fined $75,000 and the Sea Shepherd II is ordered confiscated. Captain Watson is also ordered to not communicate in any manner, with any journalist, anywhere in the world, on any subject for a period of three years. Captain Watson is also ordered banned from the five Eastern Canadian provinces for three years. Engineer Paul Pezwick is given a 7-month prison term and fined $7,000. All other crewmembers are fined $3,000 each.
December: Captain Watson and Engineer Paul Pezwick are ordered into prison on December 20 in Quebec to begin their sentences. The Quebec Court of Appeal releases both men nine days later pending appeal of the sentences.