KIEL, West Germany (AP) _ Anti-nuclear activists buzzed around the U.S. battleship Iowa in rubber dinghies trying to keep it from anchoring in Kiel harbor on Sunday, but police dragged away the intruders, the activists said.

Eight motorized rubber dinghies and a small sailing boat belonging to Greenpeace, the international environmental organization, failed to keep the battleship from dropping anchor in Kiel harbor, Greenpeace said in a statement from its Hamburg office.

A ''scuffle'' ensued when West German marine police showed up with ''at least 15 ships and rubber boats,'' Greenpeace said.

West German television, in an early evening newscast, showed two motorized Greenpeace dinghies just under the Iowa's giant anchor, which was hovering in the air. It also showed police boats pushing the dinghies away.

A banner hung from the Greenpeace sailing boat, reading: ''No Nukes in Kiel. Greenpeace.''

Greenpeace said the Iowa may be carrying nuclear weapons, although the claim has not been confirmed by either West German or American officials.

The police ''pushed off and hauled away'' some of the activists' rubber boats, ending the protest, Greenpeace said.

The 58,000-ton Iowa, one of the world's biggest warships, later dropped anchor in the northern West German city's harbor.

The battleship sailed into Kiel as part of the annual ''Kiel Week'' nautical show that opened Saturday.

Earlier, Greenpeace activists in Denmark tried to stop the battleship from sailing into the Baltic Sea en route to Kiel.

Divers and people in inflatable boats stretched a floating line across the path of the Iowa as it steamed south through Denmark's Great Belt strait.

''But the Iowa passed right through, breaking the rope,'' said Hans Kristensen of Greenpeace.

A Danish navy torpedo boat accompanied the Iowa through the strait and military helicopters hovered overhead during the protest, Kristensen said.

The Iowa slowed momentarily as it approached the protester's line, and then continued its voyage to Kiel, he said.

The Iowa was the scene of a disaster in April when an explosion ripped through one of the ship's gun turrets, killing 47 crew members. The vessel was on maneuvers near Puerto Rico at the time.