Protesters clash with Japanese whalers, call for naval intervention

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Anti-whaling activists called on Wednesday for Australia to send a naval vessel to the Southern Ocean after a confrontation in which they said a Japanese whaling ship collided with two of their protest vessels, damaging their flagship.

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Anti-whaling activists called on Wednesday for Australia to send a naval vessel to the Southern Ocean after a confrontation in which they said a Japanese whaling ship collided with two of their protest vessels, damaging their flagship.

"The Nisshin Maru has rammed the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker, but both vessels continue to hold their positions," Paul Watson, the founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which runs the protest boats, said in a statement.

Watson also accused Japanese coastguard personnel of throwing concussion grenades at their protest ships during a confrontation in the frigid waters near Antarctica and said the Bob Barker was taking on water in its engine room.

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