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Whaling skirmish in high seas

ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) Japanese whalers and protesters clashed on Wednesday (January 18) in the Southern Ocean, with activists saying three of their crew were injured by grappling hooks and a bamboo pole. The Japanese whalers said the anti-whalers tried to cut ropes and tangle propellers. The clash took place in the seas about 300 miles north of Mawson Peninsula off the coast of Antarctica, the anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd said in a statement on its website. Video released by the whalers showed a water cannon on the Japanese ship being fired at a black rubber dingy, while unidentified projectiles appeared to be thrown at the Japanese ship by activists on the small vessel. Reuters cannot independently verify the content of the video. Sea Shepherd, on their website, said three crew members were injured, ranging from "lacerations over the eyes" to "deep bruises". Last year, Australia filed a complaint against Japan at the world court in the Hague to stop Southern Ocean scientific whaling. A decision is expected in 2013 or later. Last season, Japan cut short its annual whale hunt with less than a fifth of their quota in response to Sea Shepherd harassment which saw an activist boat -- The Ady Gil -- sunk in a collision with a Japanese ship. Japan -- which along with Iceland and Norway is one of three countries that hunt whales -- introduced scientific whaling to skirt the commercial whaling ban under a 1986 moratorium.

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