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Group of killer whales sinks 50-foot yacht in Strait of Gibraltar

A pack of killer whales sank a 50-foot yacht in Moroccan waters on Sunday when the huge marine mammals rammed the vessel and forced two sailors on board to flee, officials said.

Spanish authorities said the crew members were rescued by an oil tanker which was alerted to the desperate situation after the boat sprung a leak during the encounter with orcas in the Strait of Gibraltar.


Orca pods have been causing problems for area boaters for years.
Orca pods have been causing problems for area boaters for years. Getty Images

The two people were customers and the ship belonged to the Spanish company Alboran Charter, according to the Washington Post.

The yacht, which was 14 miles off the coast of Cape Spartel, then sank to the ocean floor in the latest orca attack that prompted experts to warn other sailors of the danger in the area.

Last October, a Polish travel agency’s yacht was relentlessly rammed by a herd of orcas for 45 minutes, resulting in “significant damage and leaks,” the agency said. The boat ended up sinking.


The Rock of Gibraltar is seen from a ferry in the Strait of Gibraltar in southern Spain.
This incident is one of several incidents that have occurred in the Strait of Gibraltar. REUTERS

Orcas also interfered with a sailing race last year when a boat traveling from the Netherlands to Italy had a 15-minute confrontation with the animals. The crew was forced to drop their sails and make a ruckus to push them back.

Since 2020, hundreds of boats sailing in waters near Spain, Morocco and Portugal have encountered at least 15 orcas, leading to some vessels sinking, the Washington Post reported.

Spain’s transport and environment ministries have warned sailors of sailboats and small motorboats that orca activity peaks between May and August between the Strait of Gibraltar and the Gulf of Cádiz. Authorities encouraged boaters to sail close to the coast.

A team of Spanish and Portuguese marine scientists, called the Atlantic Orca Working Group, said there had been 197 interactions between boats and killer whales in 2021 and 207 more in 2022.

With post wires

New York Post

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