SYDNEY, March 7 (Reuters) - A hardline anti-whaling activist, Sea Shepherd captain Paul Watson, said he was shot during a clash with Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean on Friday, but survived because he was wearing a kevlar vest.
Watson told Australian radio from his ship that anti-whaling activists threw "stink bombs" on to the Japanese whaling factory ship the Nisshin Maru. The Japanese retaliated throwing "flash grenades" onto the deck of the Steve Irwin and during the clash, Watson said he was shot.
"I felt this impact on my chest. I found a bullet buried in the kevlar vest that I wear. It bruised my shoulder but it would have hit my heart if I didn't have the vest," Watson said.
Australia's foreign affairs department condemned the incident and said its embassy in Tokyo had been told by Japan that the Japanese whaling ship "fired warning shots". (Reporting by Michael Perry; Editing by David Fogarty)