Spanish officials report killer whales attacking and sinking a 50-foot yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar

Officials have confirmed to ABC News that a pod of killer whales attacked and sunk a yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar, between Spain and Morocco.

According to Spain’s maritime authority, the incident occurred on Sunday at 9 a.m. local time, with two individuals on board the vessel.

The Alboran Cognac, a nearly 50-foot yacht, was about 15 miles away from Cabo Espartel in Morocco when it was suddenly attacked by a group of orcas. These mysterious creatures began ramming into the yacht, causing a great deal of chaos and uncertainty.

The Spanish authorities were alerted by the couple, who were then rescued by a team an hour after the attack. Unfortunately, the sinking boat could not be salvaged.

According to GT Orca Atlantica, a conservation group, there have been around 700 orca attacks since 2020. Officials estimate that there are over 37 orcas in the Strait of Gibraltar.

The Strait of Gibraltar serves as a vital passage, linking the Atlantic Ocean to the Mediterranean Sea. It acts as a natural divider between Europe and Africa.

Spanish government officials have reported that during the summer and autumn of 2020, there have been instances of interaction between multiple specimens of this species and vessels, particularly sailboats, in the Strait of Gibraltar and the waters of the Galician coast. These interactions have varied from persistent approaches to ships to the deliberate ramming of the hull and rudder, resulting in various forms of damage. These incidents are ongoing.

Experts have put forth various hypotheses to explain why orcas attack boats, although the exact reason remains unclear. Some suggest that these marine mammals may engage in such behavior as a form of sport, while others believe that they may feel threatened by the presence of the vessels.

A study published in the peer-reviewed journal Biological Conservation reveals the existence of “sophisticated learning abilities” in orcas.

In June 2023, a pod of orcas had a close encounter with racing yachts in the Strait of Gibraltar, as reported by race officials.

During the last leg of The Ocean Race, a global sailing competition, crew members on two competing 65-foot yachts encountered a fascinating yet unexpected event. As the boats were nearing the Strait of Gibraltar, they found themselves being intercepted by killer whales.

Officials have reported that there were no fatalities in the incident.

Reference Article

Avatar photo
MBS Staff
Articles: 6891

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *