According to Sea Shepherd, Paul Watson was shot in the chest, and was only protected because of a kevlar vest. If true, this would be a shocking development.
From their site:
Today around 3:45pm Australian Eastern Standard Time in the Australian Exclusive Economic Zone of Antarctica, an attempt was made on the life of Paul Watson, Captain of the Sea Shepherd vessel Steve Irwin.
A single bullet was fired by what must have been an expert marksman at Paul’s chest, which embedded in his Kevlar vest and also damaged a metal badge worn behind the vest. Fortunately, this stopped the bullet penetrating his flesh.
The ships’ doctor was emphatic that without protection, the shot would have been lethal.
At the time the shot was fired, the Japanese whaling vessel Nisshin Maru was moving parallel to the Steve Irwin in stormy seas. The high level of movement indicates that the shot must have been fired by an expert.
They also threw flash grenades at the Steve Irwin. The Japanese are admitting that they fired "warning shots".