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Study explains why Orcas are attacking boats in the Strait of Gibraltar

13 June 2023 5 minutes

Orca shadowing a fishing boat in the Strait of Gibraltar

Experts say an orca known as ‘White Gladis’ may be attacking and damaging vessels after being traumatised by a boat injury, triggering a behavioural change that other orcas are imitating

By Victoria Heath

A 2022 study has shed light on the reasons why orcas (killer whales) have been attacking boats in the Strait of Gibraltar, with researchers theorising that the incidents began after a vessel injured a female orca named White Gladis . 

Since the attacks began in 2020, three boats have been sunk and more than 250 damaged by a group of orcas, with the animals appearing to deliberately target the vessels’ rudders.

Of the 35 killer whales in the region, 15 are reported to have been involved in the highly unusual interactions, which experts think began after White Gladis’ behaviour altered in a ‘defensive’ fashion after she suffered a ‘critical moment of agony’ involving a boat collision or illegal fishing entrapment – leading to other orcas damaging passing vessels in response. 

A study published in June 2022 in the journal Marine Mammal Science has found that assaults by the orcas are directed mainly at sailing boats. There is a clear pattern of orcas striking the rudders, with spade rudders the most targeted and damaged type, and then losing interest once the boat has successfully stopped. 

The general movement of the orcas involved in the incidents was from the Strait of Gibraltar to Galicia in northern Spain, with at least one of the groups returning to southern Portugal.

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Heavy boat traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar is a significant threat to the orca population

Understanding why orcas are damaging boats

After analysing over 47 testimonies, 110 pictures, and 69 videos, the study theorises some motivations that the orcas had to interact with vessels: a ‘punctual aversive incident’ such as collision with a vessel; the natural curiosity of the animals; or pressures already identified for killer whales such as prey depletion, boat disturbance and interaction with fisheries.

The study also considered how orcas – which are known to possess high cognitive abilities – are easily able to reproduce behaviour via social learning. In previous studies, the use and transmission of hunting techniques have been investigated in this particular subpopulation of orcas, leading to concerns from researchers that more orcas will eventually learn this new behaviour, aggravating the situation.

But co-author of the recent study, Alfredo López Fernandez , a biologist at the University of Aveiro in Portugal and representative of the Grupo de Trabajo Orca Atlántica (Atlantic Orca Working Group), said it isn’t as simple as White Gladis ‘teaching’ other orcas to retaliate in the wake of her boat injury.

‘We do not interpret that the orcas are teaching the young, although the behaviour has spread to the young vertically, simply by imitation, and later horizontally among them, because they consider it something important in their lives,’ López Fernandez said.

The orcas’ unusual behaviour could also be seen as a ‘fad’ – a temporary behaviour started by one orca and picked up by others before being abandoned.

Two orcas in sea, Lofoten Islands, Norway

According to Lòpez, it appears that orcas believe that the behaviour is advantageous , despite the risks associated with swimming near operating boats. Since these interactions first appeared in 2020, 4 orcas have died , although the deaths cannot be directly linked to the orcas’ encounters with boats.

The timeline of orca incidents

‘The reports of interactions have been continuous since 2020 in places where orcas are found, either in Galicia or in the Strait,’  said Lòpez-Fernadez.

Initially, the interactions baffled both researchers and recreational boat users. Rocío Espada, one of the study’s co-authors, who works with the marine biology laboratory at University of Seville and has observed orcas for years in the Strait of Gibraltar, explained her initial reaction to the orcas’ new behaviour.

‘For killer whales to take out a piece of a fibreglass rudder is crazy,’ Espada said in a 2020 interview with the Guardian . ‘I’ve seen these orcas grow from babies, I know their life stories, I’ve never seen or heard of attacks.’

One of the first reported attacks by orcas on a boat in the Strait of Gibraltar was in July 2020, when orcas rammed the hull of a boat that researcher Victoria Morris was crewing for over an hour, leaving the vessel without steering. In the same year, couple Beverly Harris and Kevin Large were motor-sailing their 50ft boat when orcas began to spin the vessel.

The latest of the three sinkings occurred on 4 May, when German skipper Werner Schaufelberger’s boat was so severely damaged by the orcas that it sank while being towed to safety by the Spanish coastguard.

In June, British sailor Iain Hamilton was marooned for several days after the rudder of his boat, the Butey of Clyde, was destroyed by five orcas off the coast of Gibraltar.

The difficult life led by Gibraltar orcas 

A 2011 census of recorded 39 individuals in the Gibraltar orca subpopulation, which today, with 35 members, is classed as Critcally Endangered by the IUCN Red List of threatened species due to a number of factors, including pollution, fishing, food scarcity and sustained injuries.

Orca hunting tuna in the Mediterranean

Orcas are drawn to the area due to the presence of bluefin tuna, a fish also highly-prized by humans, leading to a complex interaction between fishers, orca and tuna. The interaction is often dangerous to the orcas, which are known to ‘steal’ fish from drop lines, resulting while in serious hook injuries to their dorsal fins.

The narrow Strait of Gibraltar is also both a major shipping route and huge draw for whale-watching tours due to the presence of the orcas – leading to the constant threat of boat strikes from the heavy marine traffic.

The future of Gibraltar orcas 

The researchers behind the 2022 study into why killer whales are attacking boat traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar are concerned of the potential impact that this behaviour may have on both orcas and mariners.

‘If this situation continues or intensifies, it could become a real concern for the mariners’ safety and a conservation issue for this endangered subpopulation of killer whales,’ the researchers wrote.

‘There is an urgent need to conduct dedicated research that would help better understand the behaviour of the animals and implement mitigation measures.’

The complete study, ‘ Killer whales of the Strait of Gibraltar, an endangered subpopulation showing a disruptive behavior ,’ by Ruth Esteban ,  Alfredo López et al is published in Marine Mammal Science

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Orcas sink sailing yacht in Strait of Gibraltar

An unknown number of orcas have sunk a sailing yacht after ramming it in Moroccan waters in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain’s maritime rescue service said on Monday, a new attack in what has become a trend in the past four years.

The vessel Alboran Cognac, which measured 15 metres (49 feet) in length and carried two people, encountered the highly social apex predators, also known as killer whales, at 9 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on Sunday, the service said.

The passengers reported feeling sudden blows to the hull and rudder before water started seeping into the ship. After alerting the rescue services, a nearby oil tanker took them onboard and transported them to Gibraltar.

The yacht was left adrift and eventually sank.

The incident is the latest example of  recurring orca rammings  around the Gibraltar Strait that separates Europe from Africa and off the Atlantic coast of Portugal and northwestern Spain.

Experts believe them to involve a subpopulation of about 15 individuals given the designation “Gladis.”

According to the research group GTOA, which tracks populations of the Iberian orca sub-species, there have been nearly 700 interactions since orca attacks on ships in the region were first reported in May 2020.

Researchers are unsure about the causes for the behaviour, with leading theories including it being a playful manifestation of the mammals’ curiosity, a social fad or the intentional targeting of what they perceive as competitors for their favourite prey, the local bluefin tuna.

Although known as killer whales, endangered orcas are part of the dolphin family. They can measure up to eight metres and weigh up to six tonnes as adults.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

Watch CBS News

Killer whales sink yacht after 45-minute attack, Polish tour company says

By Emily Mae Czachor

November 6, 2023 / 9:58 AM EST / CBS News

A group of orcas managed to sink a yacht off the coast of Morocco last week, after its 45-minute attack on the vessel caused irreparable damage, a Polish tour company said.

The incident happened Tuesday, Oct. 31, as a crew with the boat touring group sailed through the Strait of Gibraltar. The narrow waterway bridges the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, which separates the southern tip of Europe from northern Africa. 

A pod of orcas, colloquially called killer whales, approached the yacht and "hit the steering fin for 45 minutes, causing major damage and leakage," the tour agency Morskie Mile, which is based in Warsaw and operated the yacht, wrote on  Facebook in a translated post.

Although its captain and crew were assisted by a search-and-rescue team as well as the Moroccan Navy, the yacht could not be salvaged. It sank near the entrance to the port of Tanger-Med, a major complex of ports some 30 miles northeast of Tangier along the Strait of Gibraltar. None of the crew members were harmed, said the Polish tour agency, adding that those on board the sunken yacht were already safe and in Spain by the time their Facebook post went live. 

"This yacht was the most wonderful thing in maritime sailing for all of us. Longtime friendships formed on board," wrote Morskie Mile. The company said it was involved in other upcoming cruises in the Canary Islands and would work to make sure those boat trips went ahead as planned.

morskie-mil.jpg

Last week's incident in the Strait of Gibraltar was not the first of its kind. Reported attacks by killer whales that seem to be trying deliberately to capsize boats off the coast of Spain and Portugal have more than tripled over the last two years, according to data  released in the spring by the research group GTOA, which studies orcas around Gibraltar.

"Nobody knows why this is happening," Andrew W. Trites, professor and director of Marine Mammal Research at the University of British Columbia, told CBS News in May. "My idea, or what anyone would give you, is informed speculation. It is a total mystery, unprecedented." 

GTOA recorded 52 maritime interactions with orcas between the Strait of Gibraltar and Galicia, a coastal province in northwestern Spain, between July and November 2020. The incidents picked up in the years that followed, with 197 interactions recorded in 2021 and 207 recorded in 2022, GTOA said, noting that the interactions mainly affected sailboats. 

Then, in June of this year, one of two sailing teams involved in an international race around the world reported a frightening confrontation involving multiple orcas as they traveled through the Atlantic Ocean to the west of Gibraltar. The teams, which were competing in The Ocean Race, said the orcas did not damage their boats or harm crews, but recalled the sea creatures pushing up against and, in one instance, ramming into one of the boats. The orcas also nudged and bit the rudders, one crew member said.

Caitlin O'Kane and Kerry Breen contributed to this report.

Emily Mae Czachor is a reporter and news editor at CBSNews.com. She covers breaking news, often focusing on crime and extreme weather. Emily Mae has previously written for outlets including the Los Angeles Times, BuzzFeed and Newsweek.

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May 24, 2023

Why Has a Group of Orcas Suddenly Started Attacking Boats?

Killer whales in a group near Spain and Portugal may be teaching one another to mess with small boats. They sank their third vessel earlier this month

By Stephanie Pappas

A group of three orcas swimming together in the Strait of Gibraltar

A group of three orcas, also known as killer whales, are seen swimming in the Strait of Gibraltar. Individuals in the critically endangered subpopulation have been attacking boats off the coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

Malcolm Schuyl/Alamy Stock Photo

A trio of orcas attacked a boat in the Strait of Gibraltar earlier this month, damaging it so badly that it sank soon afterward.

The May 4 incident was the third time killer whales ( Orcinus orca ) have sunk a vessel off the coasts of Portugal and Spain in the past three years. The subpopulation of orcas in this region began harassing boats, most often by biting at their rudder, in 2020. Almost 20 percent of these attacks caused enough damage to disable the vessels, says Alfredo López, an orca researcher at the Atlantic Orca Working Group (GTOA), which monitors the Iberian killer whale population. “It is a rare behavior that has only been detected in this part of the world,” he says.

Researchers aren’t sure why the orcas are going after the watercraft. There are two hypotheses, according to López. One is that the killer whales have invented a new fad, something that subpopulations of these members of the dolphin family are known to do. Much as in humans, orca fads are often spearheaded by juveniles, López says. Alternatively, the attacks may be a response to a bad past experience involving a boat.

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The first known incident occurred in May 2020 in the Strait of Gibraltar, an area with heavy boat traffic. Since then GTOA has recorded 505 cases of orcas reacting to boats. Sometimes they simply approached the vessels, and only a fraction of cases involved physical contact, López says. In a study published in June 2022 in Marine Mammal Science , he and his colleagues cataloged 49 instances of orca-boat contact in 2020 alone. The vast majority of the attacks were on sailboats or catamarans, with a handful involving fishing boats and motorboats. The average length of the vessels was 12 meters (39 feet). For comparison, a full-grown orca can be 9.2 meters (30 feet) long.

The researchers found that the orcas preferentially attack the boats’ rudder, sometimes scraping the hull with their teeth. Such attacks often snap the rudder, leaving the boat unable to navigate. In three cases, the animals damaged a boat so badly that it sank: In July 2022 they sank a sailboat with five people onboard. In November 2022 they caused a sailboat carrying four to go down. And finally, in this month’s attack, the Swiss sailing yacht Champagne had to be abandoned, and the vessel sank while it was towed to shore. In all cases, the people onboard were rescued safely.

In 2020 researchers observed nine different individual killer whales attacking boats; it’s unclear if others have since joined in. The attacks tended to come from two separate groups: a trio of juveniles occasionally joined by a fourth and a mixed-aged group consisting of an adult female named White Gladis, two of her young offspring and two of her sisters. Because White Gladis was the only adult involved in the initial incidents, the researchers speculate that she may have become entangled in a fishing line at some point, giving her a bad association with boats. Other adult orcas in the region have injuries consistent with boat collisions or entanglement, López says. “All this has to make us reflect on the fact that human activities, even in an indirect way, are at the origin of this behavior,” he says.

The safe rescue of everyone involved, however, suggests to Deborah Giles that these orcas don’t have malevolent motivations against humans. Giles, science and research director of the Washington State–based nonprofit conservation organization Wild Orca, points out that humans relentlessly harassed killer whales off the coasts of Washington and Oregon in the 1960s and 1970s, capturing young orcas and taking them away for display at marine parks. “These are animals that, every single one of them, had been captured at one point or another—most whales multiple times. And these are whales that saw their babies being taken away from them and put on trucks and driven away, never to be seen again,” Giles says. “And yet these whales never attacked boats, never attacked humans.”

Though it’s possible that the orcas around the Iberian Peninsula could be reacting to a bad experience with a boat, Giles says, it’s pure speculation to attribute that motivation to the animals. The behavior does seem to be learned, she says, but could simply be a fad without much rhyme or reason—to the human mind, anyway. Famously, some members of the Southern Resident orcas that cruise Washington’s Puget Sound each summer and fall spent the summer of 1987 wearing dead salmon on their head. There was no apparent reason for salmon hats to come in vogue in orca circles, but the behavior spread and persisted for a few months before disappearing again. “We’re not going to know what’s happening with this population,” Giles says, referring to the Iberian orcas.

The Iberian orca attacks typically last less than 30 minutes, but they can sometimes go on for up to two hours, according to the 2022 study. In the case of the Champagne, two juvenile killer whales went after the rudder while an adult repeatedly rammed the boat, crew members told the German magazine Yacht . The attack lasted 90 minutes.

The Iberian orca subpopulation is considered critically endangered, with only 39 animals the last time a full census was conducted in 2011. A 2014 study found that this subpopulation follows the migration of their key prey , Atlantic bluefin tuna—a route that puts them in close contact with human fishing, military activities and recreational boating. Maritime authorities recommend that boaters in the area slow down and try to stay away from orcas, López says, but there is no guaranteed way to avoid the animals. He and his colleagues fear the boat attacks will come back and bite the orcas, either because boaters will lash out or because the attacks are dangerous to the animals themselves. “They run a great risk of getting hurt,” López says.

Orcas sink another boat in Strait of Gibraltar off Morocco

For years, the region’s killer whales have been bumping, biting and, in some cases, sinking boats. But many scientists caution not to ascribe motive to the animals.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

The orcas have done it again.

On Oct. 31, a pod of killer whales swarmed a Polish yacht sailing in the Strait of Gibraltar. For 45 minutes, the orcas hit the vessel’s rudder and damaged the boat, according to the company that operated it. Despite rescue efforts, the yacht never made it back to shore, sinking near the entrance of the Moroccan port of Tanger Med.

“The crew is safe, unharmed and sound,” the Polish tour company Morskie Mile wrote in a Facebook post describing the demise of its boat.

Since 2020, orcas in the Strait of Gibraltar and along the Iberian Peninsula have been bumping and biting boats — oftentimes, yachts — in dozens of incidents that have frightened mariners and confounded scientists.

A recent spate of killer whales sinking boats delighted online observers who anthropomorphize the marine mammals and hail them as working-class heroes.

Are the orcas really out to get us? What to know about recent attacks.

Fishing vessels and motorboats have all had their run-ins with orcas in the region, though sailboats appear to be the most popular target, according to a 2022 study . The tour agency Morskie Mile did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

No one is quite sure what is prompting the orcas to go after vessels — whether the whales are simply being playful, or had a bad run-in with a boat in the past, prompting the aggressive behavior.

Some scientists say the incidents should not be called “attacks” at all, since the whale’s motives are unknown. Perpetuating the idea that whales are out for revenge, they fear, may lead to retaliation by boaters.

“We urge the media and public to avoid projecting narratives onto these animals,” a group of more than 30 scientists wrote in an open letter this summer. “In the absence of further evidence, people should not assume they understand the animals’ motivations.”

What we do know is that orcas are highly intelligent marine mammals that appear to learn from one another. Usually, that learned behavior is a hunting strategy, such as corralling and eating massive blue whales .

Other times, it is something stranger, such as when orcas near Seattle were observed “wearing” dead salmon as hats. Orcas, it turns out, can be victims of cultural fads, too.

One other thing is clear: Killer whales normally don’t hurt people. And humans are a bigger threat to them than they are to us.

Getting entangled in fishing gear or struck by speeding boats is a threat for all whales. With perhaps fewer than 40 individuals left , the orca population off the coasts of Spain, Portugal and Morocco is considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

Killer whales 'tear bits off boat' in 'scary' hour-long attack off Spanish coast

The sea mammals, which can grow up to eight metres long, broke the rudder and pieced the hull of the yacht Mustique as it sailed for Gibraltar.

Friday 26 May 2023 17:56, UK

killer whales yachts gibraltar

Orcas severely damaged a yacht off the coast of southern Spain - the latest in one of a number of killer whale attacks on vessels in the area.

The pod broke the rudder and pierced the hull of the Mustique while it was on its way to Gibraltar in the early hours of Thursday.

The damage forced its crew of four to contact Spanish authorities for help, a spokesman for the maritime rescue service said.

The service deployed a rapid-response vessel and a helicopter carrying a bilge pump to assist the 20-metre (66 feet) vessel, which was sailing under a British flag.

British sailor April Boyes was aboard the Mustique and shared photographs and video of the damage done by the orcas to her Instagram account.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

In one of the videos, she can be heard saying, "it's like they are biting it apart".

She later said: "What started off as a seemingly unique encounter ended with orcas breaking off our rudder from the boat, then proceeding to tear bits off the boat for an hour.

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Killer whales ram and sink sailing yacht off Gibraltar coast

British Foreign Secretary David Cameron enters a car following a discussion with Spanish Foreign Minister Albares, Gibraltar's Chief Minister Picardo and European Commission Vice-President Sefcovic on the post-Brexit future of Gibraltar, in Brussels, Belgium, April 12, 2024. REUTERS/Yves Herman

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"A huge hole in the hull meant we had water ingress to other parts of the boat and the engine room and I can honestly say it was a scary experience. We are all safe, I'm feeling grateful for the coastguard."

killer whales yachts gibraltar

The Mustique was towed to the port of Barbate, in the province of Cadiz, for repairs.

According to the research group GTOA, which tracks populations of the Iberian orca sub-species, the incident follows at least 20 incidents this month alone in the Strait of Gibraltar between small vessels and the highly social apex predators.

British sailor, April Boyes, was aboard the yacht. Pic: april_georgina/Instagram

In 2022, there were 207 reported interactions, GTOA data showed.

Earlier in May , the sailing yacht Alboran Champagne suffered a similar impact from three orcas half a nautical mile off Barbate.

The ship could not be towed as it was completely flooded and was left adrift to sink.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

Guidelines issued by the Spanish Transport Ministry stipulate that whenever ships observe any alteration in the behaviour of orcas - such as sudden changes of direction or speed - they should leave the area as soon as possible and avoid further disturbance to the animals during the manoeuvres.

Every interaction between a ship and an orca must be reported to authorities, the ministry added.

Although known as killer whales, endangered orcas are part of the dolphin family.

They can measure up to eight metres and weigh up to six tonnes as adults.

Related Topics

Why are orcas attacking boats and sometimes sinking them?

Killer whales are interacting with boats and may be teaching others to mimic the behavior.

After four years and hundreds of incidents, researchers remain puzzled why orcas, also known as killer whales, continue to ram boats – sinking a few of them – along the Iberian Peninsula. The most-recent incident was the sinking of a yacht on Oct. 31 in the Strait of Gibraltar.

The origin of these interactions remain a "great mystery," said Alfredo López, a University of Santiago biologist, but he does not believe the behavior is aggressive. Orcas are large dolphins, López said. And like dolphins, the events could stem from the orcas’ curious and playful behavior, such as trying to race the boats.

López, who specializes in orcas, and his team, Grupo de trabajo Orca Atlántica (GOTA) , have tracked these encounters since 2020. The team’s recent study theorizes the orcas could also be exhibiting cautionary behavior because of some previous traumatic incident.

Where have killer whales interacted with boats?

GOTA has tracked more than 350 interactions just on the Iberian Peninsula since 2020. Most have taken place along the Strait of Gibraltar, but the orcas’ mischief or self-defense may be spreading north. An incident was reported in June in the  Shetland Islands in Scotland .

GOTA defines interactions as instances when orcas react to the presence of approaching boats, such as:

  • Interaction without physical contact.
  • Some physical contact without damage.
  • Contact that causes serious damage that could prevent the navigation of the boat.

Recent incidents when orcas attacked boats and sank them

The Oct. 31 incident occurred in the Strait of Gibraltar where a pod of orcas sank a mid-size sailing yacht named the Grazie Mamma after a 45-minute interaction,  Live Science reported . 

On June 19 an orca rammed a 7-ton yacht multiple times off the Shetland Islands in Scotland, according to an account from retired Dutch physicist Dr. Wim Rutten in the Guardian.

"Killer whales are capable of traveling large distances, so it is not out of the ordinary that an animal could travel that far," said Tara Stevens, a marine scientist at CSA Ocean Sciences Inc. "To my knowledge, this data is not available, so we cannot confirm at this time if these are the same animals." 

Including the Oct. 31 incident, orcas have sunk four boats this year. The previous sinking occured in May , off the coasts of Portugal and Spain, but whale expert Anne Gordon told USA TODAY  in May that the incidents shouldn't heighten concerns about the whales.

"Yes, they're killer whales. And yes, their job is to be predators in the ocean, but in normal circumstances there is absolutely zero threat to humans in a boat," Gordon said .

Most of the interactions have involved sailboats, but fishing boats, semi-rigid boats and motorboats haven’t gone unscathed. 

Are these the same killer whales attacking boats or unrelated incidents?

López hypothesizes that the interactions could be a self-induced behavior where you're "inventing something new and repeat it. This behavior coincides with the profile of the juveniles." He said it could also be response to an aversive situation: "One or several individuals had lived a bad experience and tried to stop the boat so as not to repeat it. This behavior coincides with the profile of adults."

"Fifteen different orcas from at least three different communities" have been identified, López said. And they are probably teaching the habit to others, or the others are mimicking the behavior. "Without a doubt orcas learn by imitation," López said.  The majority of the culprits are juveniles that touch, push and sometimes turn the vessels. He noted that adult males don't appear to be involved.

"Killer whales are incredibly intelligent animals that do learn behaviors from observation of other individuals," Stevens said. "Typically, very unique behaviors such as this are learned 'within' group, meaning individuals of the group may learn from each other and participate, but that does not necessarily mean that the behavior is shared outside the group with other individuals."

Which pods of killer whales are battering the boats?

Orcas operate in a social structure called a pod. These pods generally are a group of several generations of related orcas. Hierarchies are established within them, and they communicate and learn from one another, the study reads.

GOTA researchers have identified the individuals responsible for the interactions . One large pod is made up of three generations. It starts with grandmother Gladis Lamari, her daughter, grandchildren and a few other relatives.

Another pod comprises siblings Gladis Negra and Gladis Peque. Both have been photographed interacting with boats. Their mother, Gladis Herbille, has generally just watched her children at a distance from the boats, the study said.

A third group in the study are siblings and a cousin.

Orcas often tracking bluefin tuna

The movements of orcas depend on the location of their main food source, bluefin tuna. The migratory movements of tuna are very dynamic and predicting exactly where interactions will take place is very difficult, the report said. According to NOAA , Atlantic bluefin tuna are the largest in the tuna family and can reach a length of 13 feet and up to 2,000 pounds. They are a highly migratory species and can migrate thousands of miles across an entire ocean.

About the Iberian orcas

While they are called killer whales, orcas are actually the largest member of the dolphin family. This aquatic marine mammal family includes whales, dolphins and porpoises.

The Iberian orca is a subpopulation of the Atlantic orca population. These orcas are from the Strait of Gibraltar and the Gulf of Cádiz. Iberian orcas are small: 16 to 21 feet compared with Atlantic orcas that measure almost 30 feet.

Orcas in general are fast, reaching speeds up to 27.6 mph. By comparison, a 39-foot sailboat travels at about 9.2 mph.

What should you do if your boat is attacked by killer whales

The study recommended these tips to reduce the duration and intensity of the interaction.

  • Stop the boat.
  • Leave the rudder loose.
  • Radio for help.

According to the GOTA study, most of the vessels involved in interactions are medium-sized (less than 49 feet) sailboats, with a paddle rudder, sailing at an average of 6.9 mph, under both sail and motor.

The interactions have been mostly concentrated in the spring and summer months and have been concentrated in the midday hours. They've lasted on average for 40 minutes, but several last less than 30 minutes. 

Types of rudders Iberian orcas have approached

"It is very common for dolphins to interact with the boats and approach," López said. "Before 2020, the orcas did it with frequency but they weren't classified as attacks. Now, sometimes they touch the boat and the encounter is unfairly classified as an attack. They judge socially before understanding what (orcas) do."

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When yachts go down: Why orcas are evil geniuses

Posted: July 16, 2024 | Last updated: July 16, 2024

<p>Despite being dubbed the "killer whale," the orca has enjoyed a pretty family-friendly image, whether it's putting on shows with humans at Sea World or starring in 'Free Willy.' But just like how its classification as a whale is misleading (it's actually the largest subspecies of the <a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/lifestyle/463829/fascinating-facts-about-dolphins" rel="noopener">dolphin</a> family), so too is its friendly reputation.</p> <p>Orcas live in all the world's oceans, from the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica to warmer tropical seas, and in every single one they are menaces, apex predators at the top of the food chain, ruling with an iron fin! Massive, agile, and extremely intelligent,  they are the most powerful and deadly animals in the water. And as if that weren't enough, there have been increasing reports in recent years of their species serial killing, vengefully sinking boats, torturing other animals for sport, and more.</p> <p>The most recent incident was more serious than the average boat attack. A 50 ft (15 m) yacht was rammed off course in the Strait of Gibraltar by orcas and eventually sank due to the damage. The two passengers aboard the boat, named the Alboran Cognac, began to feel heavy blows to the hull and rudder around 9 AM local time on Saturday. The yacht began taking on water and they radioed for assistance. Thankfully, an oil tanker in the area took them aboard and brought them to Gibraltar. In the meantime, the yacht slowly sank—another victory for the killer whales. Orca rammings have become common in this area, and are attributed to a subpopulation of around 15 whales collectively named Gladis. </p> <p>Have we got your attention? Then click through to learn more about the evil genius of orcas.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/198389?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403v3en-us"> Eric Clapton: the life of a legendary musician</a></p>

Despite being dubbed the "killer whale," the orca has enjoyed a pretty family-friendly image, whether it's putting on shows with humans at Sea World or starring in 'Free Willy.' But just like how its classification as a whale is misleading (it's actually the largest subspecies of the dolphin family), so too is its friendly reputation.

Orcas live in all the world's oceans, from the Arctic Ocean and Antarctica to warmer tropical seas, and in every single one they are menaces, apex predators at the top of the food chain, ruling with an iron fin! Massive, agile, and extremely intelligent,  they are the most powerful and deadly animals in the water. And as if that weren't enough, there have been increasing reports in recent years of their species serial killing, vengefully sinking boats, torturing other animals for sport, and more.

The most recent incident was more serious than the average boat attack. A 50 ft (15 m) yacht was rammed off course in the Strait of Gibraltar by orcas and eventually sank due to the damage. The two passengers aboard the boat, named the Alboran Cognac, began to feel heavy blows to the hull and rudder around 9 AM local time on Saturday. The yacht began taking on water and they radioed for assistance. Thankfully, an oil tanker in the area took them aboard and brought them to Gibraltar. In the meantime, the yacht slowly sank—another victory for the killer whales. Orca rammings have become common in this area, and are attributed to a subpopulation of around 15 whales collectively named Gladis. 

Have we got your attention? Then click through to learn more about the evil genius of orcas.

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<p>Orcas are known to snatch baby sea lions, sperm whales, and seals. As the fastest swimming mammals with <a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/lifestyle/462508/a-deep-dive-into-the-killer-whale-matriarchy" rel="noopener">sophisticated social coordination</a> and extremely powerful bodies, they most certainly can attack adult animals, as you'll see in this gallery.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

They kill babies

Orcas are known to snatch baby sea lions, sperm whales, and seals. As the fastest swimming mammals with sophisticated social coordination and extremely powerful bodies, they most certainly can attack adult animals, as you'll see in this gallery.

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<p>They are known to attack young humpback whales by separating the baby from the mother and then delivering continuous blows on the young whale until it dies.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/216519?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> The world's most difficult languages to learn</a></p>

They are known to attack young humpback whales by separating the baby from the mother and then delivering continuous blows on the young whale until it dies.

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<p>BBC Earth's Steve Backshall caught a pod of orcas swimming up onto shore to snatch a baby seal from the sand—a move that is actually very dangerous and requires a lot of effort for them because at 5,000-6,000 lbs they risk being beached. But for all that effort surely they're getting precious food, right? Wrong.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

They kill for sport

BBC Earth's Steve Backshall caught a pod of orcas swimming up onto shore to snatch a baby seal from the sand—a move that is actually very dangerous and requires a lot of effort for them because at 5,000-6,000 lbs they risk being beached. But for all that effort surely they're getting precious food, right? Wrong.

<p>The orcas started apparently playing with the baby seal, tossing it out of the water and passing it around. After a long while, and after the baby seal eventually died, they left the carcass behind.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/265952?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> Which food does your state hate most?</a></p>

The orcas started apparently playing with the baby seal, tossing it out of the water and passing it around. After a long while, and after the baby seal eventually died, they left the carcass behind.

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<p>Backshall found many pup carcasses washed up on the shore, seemingly unharmed except for orca teeth prints in their bodies. These babies were killed for what seems to be sport.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Backshall found many pup carcasses washed up on the shore, seemingly unharmed except for orca teeth prints in their bodies. These babies were killed for what seems to be sport.

<p>Backshall's team also found in British Columbia a pod of orcas that had encountered a fully grown male Steller's sea lion. They cornered the sea lion and began beating it down for a long time, but then came another sinister surprise.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/317845?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> The deadliest surf spots on the planet</a></p>

Surplus killing

Backshall's team also found in British Columbia a pod of orcas that had encountered a fully grown male Steller's sea lion. They cornered the sea lion and began beating it down for a long time, but then came another sinister surprise.

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<p>The orcas brought in their calves, who then also began beating down on the sea lion. They were passing down this lesson, and perhaps it may have made more sense if they all feasted on the sea lion afterwards, but instead of finishing it off they all suddenly abandoned the unmoving body. Backshall hypothesized that their surplus killing—killing not designed for food—is a matter of compartmentalizing their lives. Socializing, traveling, and educating are not for food-related hunting.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

The orcas brought in their calves, who then also began beating down on the sea lion. They were passing down this lesson, and perhaps it may have made more sense if they all feasted on the sea lion afterwards, but instead of finishing it off they all suddenly abandoned the unmoving body. Backshall hypothesized that their surplus killing—killing not designed for food—is a matter of compartmentalizing their lives. Socializing, traveling, and educating are not for food-related hunting.

<p>Orcas are known to use a strike of their tails to stun fish, or to create a powerful wave that launches bigger creatures well into the air.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/322346?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> Civet cats, bats, and other animals who spread deadly diseases</a></p>

They have a wicked technique

Orcas are known to use a strike of their tails to stun fish, or to create a powerful wave that launches bigger creatures well into the air.

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<p>With their tails they can incapacitate sharks or flip them over to induce something called tonic immobility, putting the shark into a state of paralysis, according to Live Science.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Paralyzing power

With their tails they can incapacitate sharks or flip them over to induce something called tonic immobility, putting the shark into a state of paralysis, according to Live Science.

<p>Orcas are reportedly known to work together in coordinated attacks to create even bigger waves that can knock prey off from their safe perches on floating ice and into the water.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/337249?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> The most explosive celebrity interviews of all time</a></p>

They work smarter, not harder

Orcas are reportedly known to work together in coordinated attacks to create even bigger waves that can knock prey off from their safe perches on floating ice and into the water.

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<p>In Mexico's Sea of Cortez, a stingray minding its own business was approached by an orca that swatted it with its tail in what National Geographic called “play.” Although orcas do eat stingrays, the orcas appeared to be merely showing off as they slapped and circled it for over an hour before letting it sink to the floor uneaten.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

"Playing" with stingrays

In Mexico's Sea of Cortez, a stingray minding its own business was approached by an orca that swatted it with its tail in what National Geographic called “play.” Although orcas do eat stingrays, the orcas appeared to be merely showing off as they slapped and circled it for over an hour before letting it sink to the floor uneaten.

<p>Nothing says confidence like going after the biggest creature on Earth: blue whales. Orcas were recorded killing and eating blue whales in three separate attacks off the coast of Australia since 2019, according to a paper published in Marine Mammal Science.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/337337?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> The funniest Chuck Norris jokes of all time</a></p>

The largest creatures on Earth aren't safe

Nothing says confidence like going after the biggest creature on Earth: blue whales. Orcas were recorded killing and eating blue whales in three separate attacks off the coast of Australia since 2019, according to a paper published in Marine Mammal Science.

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<p>The attack in March 2019 was reportedly coordinated by at least 12 orcas, led by eight adult females and one male, with younger ones watching. The report said that after an hour of attacking, three females rammed the blue whale on its side, pushing it underwater, while two others attacked its head, and one other swam inside the whale's mouth and started eating its tongue.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

They have a twisted appetite

The attack in March 2019 was reportedly coordinated by at least 12 orcas, led by eight adult females and one male, with younger ones watching. The report said that after an hour of attacking, three females rammed the blue whale on its side, pushing it underwater, while two others attacked its head, and one other swam inside the whale's mouth and started eating its tongue.

<p>Sure, the tongue is reportedly nutritious and delicious, but the orcas that ate the tongues of the blue whales did it while the whales were still alive!</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/363916?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> Avoid these "healthy" foods and live longer</a></p>

Sure, the tongue is reportedly nutritious and delicious, but the orcas that ate the tongues of the blue whales did it while the whales were still alive!

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<p>Not even their own Delphinidae family is safe. Orcas will eat other species of dolphin, typically ramming them to stun them after a high-speed chase before going in for the kill.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

They kill dolphins

Not even their own Delphinidae family is safe. Orcas will eat other species of dolphin, typically ramming them to stun them after a high-speed chase before going in for the kill.

<p>In 2017, a pair of killer whales embarked on a killing spree, slaughtering at least eight great white sharks, but in the strangest way. In all but one case, the sharks' bodies were left intact to rot, but they had a clean tear in their shoulders and their liver was gone.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/396002?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> Celebrities who've insured their body parts</a></p>

Disemboweling sharks

In 2017, a pair of killer whales embarked on a killing spree, slaughtering at least eight great white sharks, but in the strangest way. In all but one case, the sharks' bodies were left intact to rot, but they had a clean tear in their shoulders and their liver was gone.

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<p>In 2023, the same pair of killer whales embarked on another killing spree, slicing out the livers of 19 broadnose sevengill sharks in a single day with near-surgical precision, and leaving their carcasses to wash ashore off the coast of South Africa. It later came out that these orcas have been extracting livers from sevengills and great white sharks since at least 2015.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

In 2023, the same pair of killer whales embarked on another killing spree, slicing out the livers of 19 broadnose sevengill sharks in a single day with near-surgical precision, and leaving their carcasses to wash ashore off the coast of South Africa. It later came out that these orcas have been extracting livers from sevengills and great white sharks since at least 2015.

<p>Scientists concluded that the orcas must have learned that consuming shark livers provides high energy and nutrients—because of their large quantities of fats and vitamins—and remembered exactly where to attack to get the liver without having to tear through the shark and damage their teeth.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/407091?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> Julia Roberts: A friend or foe in Hollywood?</a></p>

Smart serial killers

Scientists concluded that the orcas must have learned that consuming shark livers provides high energy and nutrients—because of their large quantities of fats and vitamins—and remembered exactly where to attack to get the liver without having to tear through the shark and damage their teeth.

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<p>The duo were eerily coordinated in their kills, with one distracting the shark before the other went in for the kill. It's a strategy that requires high levels of intelligence and social cooperation. And they seemed to pass the skill on, as they were recorded performing the shark-liver technique in the presence of four other orcas, National Geographic reported.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

The duo were eerily coordinated in their kills, with one distracting the shark before the other went in for the kill. It's a strategy that requires high levels of intelligence and social cooperation. And they seemed to pass the skill on, as they were recorded performing the shark-liver technique in the presence of four other orcas, National Geographic reported.

<p>Researchers found that orcas are nearly silent before making a kill, neither vocalizing nor using their echolocation, because they are aware that seals, porpoises, and their other prey have excellent hearing, reports Science Daily. They also hunt under cover of night, and eavesdrop on prey to find their food.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/466317?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> The celebrity grandchildren of icons</a></p>

They're excellent stalkers

Researchers found that orcas are nearly silent before making a kill, neither vocalizing nor using their echolocation, because they are aware that seals, porpoises, and their other prey have excellent hearing, reports Science Daily. They also hunt under cover of night, and eavesdrop on prey to find their food.

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<p>In a string of aggressive incidents beginning in 2020, orcas started attacking boats off the southwest coast of Europe, according to a study published in June 2022 in the journal Marine Mammal Science. These attacks have become increasingly more frequent with time.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Coming after boats

In a string of aggressive incidents beginning in 2020, orcas started attacking boats off the southwest coast of Europe, according to a study published in June 2022 in the journal Marine Mammal Science. These attacks have become increasingly more frequent with time.

<p>In May 2023, orcas sunk three boats off the Iberian coast. In each case, the orcas slammed up against the boats and specifically went after the boat's rudder.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/470650?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> Signs you've met your soulmate</a></p>

In May 2023, orcas sunk three boats off the Iberian coast. In each case, the orcas slammed up against the boats and specifically went after the boat's rudder.

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<p>A theory put forward by Alfredo López Fernandez, a biologist at the University of Aveiro in Portugal, suggested that the aggressive behavior began with a female orca who was likely struck by a boat and traumatized, leading her to start ramming sailing vessels. People aboard the attacked boats also said they saw mother orcas teaching the little ones how to charge into the rudder.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

They're vengeful

A theory put forward by Alfredo López Fernandez, a biologist at the University of Aveiro in Portugal, suggested that the aggressive behavior began with a female orca who was likely struck by a boat and traumatized, leading her to start ramming sailing vessels. People aboard the attacked boats also said they saw mother orcas teaching the little ones how to charge into the rudder.

<p>Scientists guess that the vengeful orca likely inadvertently taught her gang how to ram boats, as orcas are social creatures that can easily learn and reproduce behaviors performed by others.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/478659?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> Celebrities who are born-again Christians</a></p>

They're like a gang

Scientists guess that the vengeful orca likely inadvertently taught her gang how to ram boats, as orcas are social creatures that can easily learn and reproduce behaviors performed by others.

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<p>Footage from 2016 showed orcas tossing turtles into the air before eating them, playing with their food. In 2018, a small pod of orcas near the Galápagos Islands was caught on camera as they pushed, spun, and dragged sea turtles around—but without eating them.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

They kill sea turtles

Footage from 2016 showed orcas tossing turtles into the air before eating them, playing with their food. In 2018, a small pod of orcas near the Galápagos Islands was caught on camera as they pushed, spun, and dragged sea turtles around—but without eating them.

<p>Orcas near Antarctica developed a complicated technique for hunting the penguins that live there, which involves catching them in shallow water. Once they catch them in their mouths, they “squeeze the body out like toothpaste,” as National Geographic explained, “and leave the wrapper” behind.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/489471?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> The 30 most essential cult-favorite TV series of all time</a></p>

They eat penguins in the grossest way

Orcas near Antarctica developed a complicated technique for hunting the penguins that live there, which involves catching them in shallow water. Once they catch them in their mouths, they “squeeze the body out like toothpaste,” as National Geographic explained, “and leave the wrapper” behind.

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<p>Moose occupy a very different habitat to orcas and aren't even known prey for the killer whales, yet in the summer when they feed on aquatic vegetation, swimming between various islands along the coast of Canada and Alaska, there have been a few cases recorded of orcas attacking them.</p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

Not even moose are safe

Moose occupy a very different habitat to orcas and aren't even known prey for the killer whales, yet in the summer when they feed on aquatic vegetation, swimming between various islands along the coast of Canada and Alaska, there have been a few cases recorded of orcas attacking them.

<p>Orcas might be the star of family-friendly shows, but they're especially talented at inflicting fear in other species—even great white sharks and blue whales—and carrying out immense violence. They have meticulously maintained their reputation as the most feared predators in the ocean.</p><p>You may also like:<a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/n/500114?utm_source=msn.com&utm_medium=display&utm_campaign=referral_description&utm_content=551403en-en"> Bizarre jobs within the British royal household</a></p>

Inflicting fear, enacting violence

Orcas might be the star of family-friendly shows, but they're especially talented at inflicting fear in other species—even great white sharks and blue whales—and carrying out immense violence. They have meticulously maintained their reputation as the most feared predators in the ocean.

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<p>Before we start to judge orcas, it's important to remember our own species is also notorious for its members who kill for sport, vengefully sink ships, kill our own kind, exploit other animals, and sit all too comfortably at the top of the food chain.</p><p>Sources: (National Geographic) (Live Science) (The Atlantic) (The Guardian) (BBC Earth)</p><p>See also: <a href="https://www.starsinsider.com/lifestyle/451131/the-worlds-smartest-animals">The world's smartest animals</a></p><p><a href="https://www.msn.com/en-us/community/channel/vid-7xx8mnucu55yw63we9va2gwr7uihbxwc68fxqp25x6tg4ftibpra?cvid=94631541bc0f4f89bfd59158d696ad7e">Follow us and access great exclusive content every day</a></p>

But humans can't pass judgment

Before we start to judge orcas, it's important to remember our own species is also notorious for its members who kill for sport, vengefully sink ships, kill our own kind, exploit other animals, and sit all too comfortably at the top of the food chain. See also: The world's smartest animals

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‘Dancing With The Stars': Conversations Taking Place Over Tightening Of Protocols In Wake Of ‘Strictly Come Dancing' Scandal

‘Dancing With The Stars': Conversations Taking Place Over Tightening Of Protocols In Wake Of ‘Strictly Come Dancing' Scandal

2 young orcas ram sailboat off northern France — 800 miles from 'attack' hotspot

Coastguards had to tow a 40-foot-long sailboat back to port after two young orcas severely damaged the boat's rudder near Guilvinec in the French region of Brittany.

An orca swims on the sea surface while a sailboat with people on deck cruises in the background.

Orcas have rammed a sailboat off the coast of Brittany — a whopping 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) north from the Strait of Gibraltar, where the majority of orca attacks on boats have occurred.

The incident occurred July 16 off the coast of Guilvinec, a commune 40 miles (65 kilometers) southeast of Brest in northwestern France. The couple on board lost control of their boat — a 40-foot-long (12 meters) wooden pleasure craft — after two young orcas ( Orcinus orca ) broke the rudder, local newspaper Le Télégramme reported .

The couple alerted the local coastguard, who towed the sailboat safely back to harbor in Guilvinec.

The incident is one of nearly 700 physical interactions between orcas and boats recorded since July 2020 along the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts of Europe and North Africa. Roughly half of those interactions caused mild to serious damage to the boats, according to a translated report published earlier this year in the journal Ingeniería Civil .

Orcas almost always target the rudder , which they have learned to break off with ruthless efficiency .

Research and observations have linked these interactions to a population of about 35 Iberian orcas. A total of 16 animals from this population — four adults and 12 juveniles — are thought to interact regularly with boats, but their motivation remains unclear.

Related: Orcas are learning terrifying new behaviors. Are they getting smarter?

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One hypothesis is that these orcas are bored "teenagers" looking for fun . But some scientists argue that interacting with boats is a freak behavior that emerged in response to a traumatic event.

"We think that there are arguments that indicate that an incident caused by an entrapment, in which a sailboat is involved, is feasible as a cause of psychological trauma that provokes a response on the part of a wild animal with high cognitive abilities, such as the orca ," researchers wrote in the recent report.

— Infamous boat-sinking orcas spotted hundreds of miles from where they should be, baffling scientists

— Orcas aren't all the same species, study of North Pacific killer whales reveals

— 'An enormous mass of flesh armed with teeth': How orcas gained their 'killer' reputation

The same team previously suggested that a female orca called White Gladis suffered a "critical moment of agony" and that she started ramming boats as a result . "If this hypothesis were true, the rest of the juvenile orcas would repeat the behavior by imitation," they wrote in the report.

It's unclear which population of orcas was behind the recent ramming off the coast of France. Iberian orcas follow their favorite Atlantic bluefin tuna ( Thunnus thynnus ) prey north from the Strait of Gibraltar to the Bay of Biscay in the summer, meaning they may have been hunting off the coast of Brittany.

But a different population also inhabits waters off west Scotland and northwest Ireland, where a case of an orca attacking a boat was reported last year . One expert at the time said the boat-ramming behavior could have "leapfrogged" from one population to the other.

Sascha is a U.K.-based trainee staff writer at Live Science. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Southampton in England and a master’s degree in science communication from Imperial College London. Her work has appeared in The Guardian and the health website Zoe. Besides writing, she enjoys playing tennis, bread-making and browsing second-hand shops for hidden gems.

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‘Absolutely incredible’: Man rowing solo across Atlantic is surrounded by whales

Bill Chappell

Tom Waddington, who is rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, filmed an hours-long encounter with what he believes were long-finned pilot whales. He enjoyed their visit — until one smacked into his small boat.

Tom Waddington, who is rowing across the Atlantic Ocean, filmed an hours-long encounter with what he believes were long-finned pilot whales. He enjoyed their visit — until one smacked into his small boat. @tomwaddington_skier hide caption

Tom Waddington is on a quest to row across the Atlantic Ocean all by himself — but on Sunday, he found plenty of company at sea, when a pod of pilot whales thronged around him. They followed him for hours, growing from a few playful animals to hundreds of large creatures. At least one smacked into his small boat.

The whales popped their heads above the surface and seemed to play together — a gam of whales , gadding about — as Waddington, who is rowing some 2,000 nautical miles from the Newfoundland coast to Penzance, in the United Kingdom, watched in amazement.

“This is so cool,” Waddington said as he took a video of the whales’ antics. With a laugh, he added, “I love it, but I'm scared they're gonna hit my rudder.”

View this post on Instagram A post shared by Tom Waddington (@tomwaddington_skier)

Waddington emerged unscathed — but a little shaken by the risks mammals weighing thousands of pounds can pose to his boat and equipment on an unsupported solo trip.

“They were just playing and going under the boat and I was taking videos,” he said on Facebook and Instagram, describing hundreds of whales around him. Then one of the whales slammed into the side of his light boat.

“And I was like, Oh my God. And suddenly it turned from David Attenborough into Moby Dick. And I was really scared.”

Waddington’s team on land believes the playful mammals are long-finned pilot whales, which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says are known to live in the North Atlantic and “are very social, living in large schools of hundreds of animals separated into close-knit pods of 10 to 20 individuals.”

The whales appeared at a moment when Waddington was feeling a bit low, he said, after a morning full of rain.

“What a special treat,” he said on the video. “I've seen loads of whales, but they've just come to say hello.”

When it came time to take leave of his visitors, Waddington says he wasn’t sure how to do that. He tried shouting a bit, and splashed his oars. He veered north — but the whales followed, and for more than two hours, it seemed more whales kept showing up.

Waddington, who works as a ski instructor, is rowing across the ocean for a fundraiser benefiting Mind , the British mental health charity led by the actor Stephen Fry. Waddington estimates that more than 1,000 whales swam with him. For advice, he called his coach, Charlie Pitcher (who has himself rowed across the Atlantic).

“He was like, the best thing to do is, be quiet and still — which is exactly the opposite of what I did" earlier, he said.

A map shows Tom Waddington's progress as he rows his boat across the Atlantic Ocean.

A map shows Tom Waddington's progress as he rows his boat across the Atlantic Ocean. Mind Oar Matter hide caption

Eventually, the whales left the boat and its sole occupant with a rare story about crossing the Grand Banks , the large fishery at the edge of the North American continental shelf.

“It was absolutely incredible,” Waddington said.

The encounter didn’t harm the boat, or its progress across open water.

Between favorable winds and waves, and what Waddington called “whale-fueled adrenaline,” his boat is making good progress, he added. You can track its voyage online .

Closeup of Bladerunner the humpback whale, showing scars on her back

The return of Bladerunner the humpback and Split Fin the killer whale – a cautionary tale about seafaring vessels

killer whales yachts gibraltar

Postdoctoral Researcher and Wildlife Scientist, Macquarie University

Disclosure statement

Vanessa Pirotta does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

Macquarie University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.

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In the past few days, two well known survivors of the battle between marine mammals and vessels have been spotted in Australian waters. I’m talking about Bladerunner the humpback and Split Fin the killer whale . Both have become famous for the massive scars they bear on their bodies, inflicted by boats.

Bladerunner is marked by a series of lines across her back and part of her tail. These lines were made by a propeller in motion. Split Fin, as her name suggests, has a split dorsal fin – likely also caused by a boat propeller.

I’m lucky to have seen both during my career studying whales. I first saw Bladerunner in 2013 while conducting research off Cape Solander, Sydney. And I spotted Split Fin and her pod on a whale watching trip off Eden, New South Wales, back in 2009.

I get a buzz every time I hear about another sighting. I know countless other people feel the same way. But there’s another feeling, too, knowing they were hurt yet narrowly avoided a fate far worse. So let’s take this opportunity to learn a bit more about these majestic creatures and how to keep them safe from harm.

Split Fin swimming alongside another killer whale in Australian waters, back in 2009

What happened to Bladerunner and Split Fin?

Bladerunner and Split Fin sustained terrible injuries quite some time ago now. Bladerunner was struck in 2001 and Split Fin was first spotted in 2003. In both cases, the wounds healed without becoming infected.

Killer whales, such as Split Fin, are actually the largest members of the dolphin family . Whales and dolphins swim to the surface to breathe . They may also feed and socialise at the surface, where they’re highly likely to encounter a vessel.

A collision in the ocean is called vessel strike (sometimes ship strike or boat strike).

Unfortunately, whales and dolphins are at risk of vessel strike worldwide . In some cases, whales may be fatally wounded or sustain terrible injuries that restrict movement and leave them unable to swim properly. This makes them more vulnerable to predators such as killer whales.

Bladerunner and Split Fin look different, so people notice them

It’s impossible for scientists to be out on the ocean all the time, so it’s helpful when other people spot whales travelling on the “humpback highway”. For example:

Bladerunner was sighted by people onshore at Tathra, NSW, on Wednesday, and filmed using a drone :

Split Fin and her pod were spotted off Eden last week from a whale-watching platform:

Both humpback whales and killer whales can live for well over 50 years, so hopefully we can enjoy many more sightings.

Dedicated “citizen scientists” capture sightings on social media through groups such as Killer Whales Australia . There’s also various “whale-y” fun local projects, right around Australia, where you can get involved .

In addition, my team and I are documenting unique humpback whale sightings including the elusive white humpback whale Migaloo . Being all white makes him stand out, so people tend to notice him. But it’s been four years between sightings now. When will Migaloo turn up next?

A reminder to please keep your distance

Both Bladerunner and Split Fin remind us all to take care when on the water, or flying a drone over the ocean.

All whales, dolphins and porpoises in Australian waters are protected . The authorities have rules in place to keep these animals safe.

As a general rule, please keep your distance on the water by staying at least 100 metres away from whales. If a calf is present, the “exclusion zone” extends out to 300 metres .

If you’re flying a drone , that means the drone must fly at least 100m or higher above the ocean’s surface.

Ensuring we don’t get too close will allow these creatures safe passage in our waters, so we can continue to enjoy them.

Of course, vessel strike is not the only threat whales and dolphins face. Human activities present other dangers such as entanglement in fishing gear , noise and other forms of pollution, climate changes, and underwater construction to name a few. The good news is science is helping us understand these threats, so we can make evidence-based decisions to better protect these creatures in the future.

Bladerunner is one of more than 40,000 humpbacks currently migrating north to warmer waters from Antarctica. They’re on their way to a fun place I call the “ whale disco ”, where male humpback whales sing and socialise with females. Humpback females may give birth or fall pregnant during this time.

It’s a special time of year, when all eyes are on the big blue.

Let’s hope for safe passage for all whales and dolphins, as they enjoy Australian waters.

This article was drawn from material in Vanessa Pirotta’s new book Humpback Highway: Diving into the mysterious world of whales .

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Killer whale threw British sailor’s yacht around ‘like rag doll’ in latest attack

Iain hamilton, 60, said he was left marooned for several days after a pod of five whales attacked his boat, article bookmarked.

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A sailor has told how his yacht was thrown around like a “rag doll” by killer whales near Gibraltar in the latest in a growing number of orca attacks on boats.

Iain Hamilton, 60, said he was left marooned for a few days after a pod of five whales attacked his boat, the Butey of Clyde, while he was sailing 20 miles off the coast of the British territory.

He said his boat was wrecked by the mammals as they tore off its rudders.

“I noticed a fin then noticed a light bump and then a very big bump and looked round and there was a very large whale pushing along the back and trying to bite the rudder,” he told BBC Radio 4 .

“To begin with there was one big whale and four smaller whales and they were just bumping it and bumping it and then one of them managed to take off one of the rudders - the boat has two.

Gladis the killer whale and her gang of orcas, out for revenge in Gibraltar

“Then we lost the second rudder so we had no mechanism of steering the boat and the whales were in charge of the boat and they pushed us around like a rag doll,” he added.

Marine experts hope that by tracking killer whales with tags they can prevent future attacks, the scale of which Mr Hamilton said was “way larger” than people realised.

Last month sailors in the straits of Gibraltar were warned to protect themselves against the growing number of orca attacks.

More than 250 boats have been damaged, with three sunk, since the attacks off the coast of Spain and Portugal were first reported in 2020.

Fifteen of the region’s 35 killer whales are said to be responsible - but it is thought a female orca called White Gladis was the one to “teach” others to attack the passing vessels after she collided with a boat.

Orca attacks can last for over an hour and generally involve the orcas headbutting a vessel’s rudder until it is destroyed.

People remove water from a sailing boat severely damaged by killer whales off the coast of southern Spain,

However, sprinkling five to eight kilograms of sand in the water around the rudder confuses the animal’s sonar, said the Cruising Association, adding the crew should bang pots and pans on deck at the same time.

There have been 20 incidents this month alone between the highly social apex predators and small vessels sailing in the Strait of Gibraltar, according to the Atlantic Orca Working Group (GTOA), with dozens of orca attacks on ships recorded on Spanish and Portuguese coasts this year.

Most interactions have been harmless, with orcas only touching an estimated one in every 100 boats passing through the area, according to biologist Alfredo Lopez Fernandez, of the GTOA and University of Aveiro, who said that three vessels have sunk so far.

Experts believe White Gladis may have suffered a “critical moment of agony”, such as colliding with a boat or becoming entrapped during illegal fishing, which altered her behaviour in a “defensive” fashion.

“That traumatised orca is the one that started this behaviour of physical contact with boats,” Dr Lopez Fernandez told Live Science.

“We do not interpret that the orcas are teaching the young, although the behaviour has spread to the young vertically, simply by imitation, and later horizontally among them, because they consider it something important in their lives,” he said.

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Loss of sea ice putting migrating beluga whales in danger

How whale watchers can catch a glimpse of the mass migration of beluga whales.

The annual great beluga migration is underway, but the whales are facing increasing dangers as the climate warms and human activity decimates their habitat.

Every July, about 57,000 beluga whales make their way from the Arctic to warmer waters further south. In these safe southern havens, the shallow water protects them from predators, allowing them to feed, have babies and molt their skin on the rocks of the riverbeds.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

How melting sea ice is affecting beluga whales

The important role sea ice plays in the beluga whale migration pattern and the overall ecosystem of the Arctic is ever apparent as it continues to melt rapidly.

Known as the world's refrigerator, the Arctic is losing sea ice at alarming rates. The detriment to polar bears has been well documented due to the loss of feeding opportunities due to the melt. But the melting ice also poses additional risks to beluga whale populations in several ways.

MORE: More interactions between humans and polar bears are likely as sea ice melts due to climate change, scientists say

As the sea ice disappears, the belugas are losing their protection from their main predators: orca whales.

Since belugas do not have dorsal fins, they can get up close and hide under the sea ice, away from the killer whales that hunt them, experts told ABC News.

Changing temperatures in ocean waters are also bringing more killer whales farther north, Tracy Romano, chief scientist and vice president of research at the Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, Connecticut, told ABC News.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

The sea ice also acts as the base of the food chain in the Arctic, Alysa McCall, director of conservation outreach and staff scientist at Polar Bears International, told ABC News. The algae growing on the sea ice serves as an underwater garden, attracting the fish that beluga whales feed on, McCall said.

In addition, as the sea ice patterns change in the Arctic, belugas may find that the locations of the sea ice are different than what they expect and can get trapped underneath, unable to come up to the surface to breathe, McCall said.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

The melting sea ice also has indirect effects on beluga populations. As the sea ice dwindles, it opens up more lanes for commercial shipping. The increase in activity is leading to more noise pollution, which hinders the species known as the most vocal whale in the world.

"They really depend on being able to chit chat with each other under the water, and so we are seeing a lot more activity and shipping that could kind of be fuzzing their communication, which is not good," McCall said.

MORE: Mystery surrounds sighting of Beluga whale with Russian-made harness

The melting is also opening up more possibilities for environmental disasters such as oil spills, the experts said.

An increase in drilling for oil and gas goes "hand in hand" with the increase in accessibility from the lack of sea ice, McCall said.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

In 2021, National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that the Arctic was warming twice as fast as the rest of the world . In addition, the last 16 years have had the lowest 16 sea ice extents in the satellite record, according to NASA and the National Snow and Ice Data Center .

Where you can watch beluga whales in migration

Marine life enthusiasts can now watch the migration of tens of thousands of beluga whales from the Arctic through a live cam set up by conservation group Polar Bears International.

MORE: London whale watchers gather to see Beluga stranded in the River Thames

One of the favorite spots for belugas is the Churchill River, which runs through Manitoba, Canada, where the waters are shallow. There, they can have their babies and "eat a lot of food" away from the threat of orca attacks, McCall said. The warmer water and the shallower substrates in those estuaries often have pebbles and are shallow, which allows the belugas to rub on the bottom to remove dead skin, Romano said.

During this time of year, witnesses can see thousands of beluga whales "vacationing" in the river, Romano said. The whales are friendly and social, according to McCall.

"It's a pretty special time of the year," she said.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

On the beluga feed, viewers will be able to see the whales on their journey, with many appearing to smile for the underwater "Beluga Cam." They often bring their babies right up to the camera, McCall said.

Why mitigating climate change is essential

In the winter, the belugas will make their way back north. But change in their migration patterns and timing could shift due to a warming climate, McCall said.

"We might find over time as we lose more Arctic sea ice a shift in of beluga whales farther north, and maybe they won't be able to come as far down south," McCall said. "We're not sure yet what that really looks like."

MORE: A beluga-narwhal hybrid skull was confirmed for the first time, and it's 'super-weird'

While beluga whales are listed as "least concern" on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species , there are pockets of populations all over the world that are beginning to see declines, including in Alaska and near the Estuary of Saint Lawrence in Quebec, Canada, Romano said.

Beluga whales play a critical role in the Arctic ecosystem and are "great sentinels" for what's happening in the waters, Romano said. Since they are so high on the food chain, monitoring the species allows researchers to compare how water conditions could impact humans.

"If something is happening to belugas, it could be applicable to humans as well," Romano said.

killer whales yachts gibraltar

Protecting the species would entail protecting the entire Arctic ecosystem as a whole, which will require major climate change mitigation, the experts said.

"We want to be able to recover those populations decreasing in number and enable populations that are stable to thrive," Romano said.

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COMMENTS

  1. Killer whales attack and sink sailing yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar

    Updated on: May 14, 2024 / 4:54 PM EDT / CBS News. A sailing yacht sunk in the Strait of Gibraltar on Sunday after an unknown number of orcas slammed into the vessel with two people on board and ...

  2. Why killer whales won't stop ramming boats in Spain

    Since 2020, a group of killer whales in the Strait of Gibraltar has sunk three vessels and disabled dozens more. The reason why is unclear. Experts share their theories.

  3. Orcas sink sailing yacht in Strait of Gibraltar

    Reuters —. An unknown number of orcas have sunk a sailing yacht after ramming it in Moroccan waters in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain's maritime rescue service said on Monday, a new attack in ...

  4. Study explains why Orcas are attacking boats in the Strait of Gibraltar

    A 2022 study has shed light on the reasons why orcas (killer whales) have been attacking boats in the Strait of Gibraltar, with researchers theorising that the incidents began after a vessel injured a female orca named White Gladis . Advertisement. Since the attacks began in 2020, three boats have been sunk and more than 250 damaged by a group ...

  5. A pod of orcas sinks a yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar : NPR

    Animals. A pod of orcas has sunk a yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar. For 45 minutes, the crew of the Grazie Mamma felt like they were under attack from below. A pod of orcas had zeroed in on the ...

  6. Orcas sink sailing yacht in Strait of Gibraltar

    Orcas sink sailing yacht in Strait of Gibraltar . ... (49 feet) in length and carried two people, encountered the highly social apex predators, also known as killer whales, at 9 a.m. local time ...

  7. Killer whales sink yacht after 45-minute attack, Polish tour company

    A group of orcas managed to sink a yacht off the coast of Morocco last week, after its 45-minute attack on the vessel caused irreparable damage, a Polish tour company said. The incident happened ...

  8. Why killer whales are attacking boats near Gibraltar? Scientists

    A picture taken on May 31, 2023 shows the rudder of a ship damaged by killer whales (Orcinus orca) while sailing in the Strait of Gibraltar and taken for repairs at the Pecci Shipyards in Barbate ...

  9. Orcas sank a yacht off Spain

    A picture taken on May 31, 2023, shows the rudder of a vessel damaged by killer whales (Orcinus orca) while sailing in the Strait of Gibraltar and taken for repairs at the Pecci Shipyards in ...

  10. Why Has a Group of Orcas Suddenly Started Attacking Boats?

    A trio of orcas attacked a boat in the Strait of Gibraltar earlier this month, damaging it so badly that it sank soon afterward. The May 4 incident was the third time killer whales (Orcinus orca ...

  11. Killer whales learn to sink yachts off Gibraltar

    Killer whales attack a sailing boat off the coast of Morocco Credit: Stephen Bidwell / SWNS. A vengeful killer whale called Gladis is teaching gangs of orcas to attack yachts around Gibraltar, and ...

  12. Gladis the killer whale and her gang of orcas out for revenge

    A British sailor's boat was the latest victim in a spate of orca attacks on vessels near Gibraltar, as an expert suggested a "traumatised" killer whale may be inadvertently teaching others ...

  13. Killer whales are 'attacking' sailboats near Europe's coast. Scientists

    Scientists don't know why. An orca pod seen in the Strait of Gibraltar in 2021. Ester Kristine Storkson was asleep on her father's small yacht earlier this month, sailing off the coast of France ...

  14. Orcas sink yacht in Strait of Gibraltar in latest incident of killer

    In November last year, the crew of a yacht called Grazie Mamma faced a 45-minute ordeal when a pod of orcas targeted the boat's rudder, causing it to sink in the Strait of Gibraltar. The crew ...

  15. Pod of killer whales attacks and sinks 50-foot yacht in Strait of Gibraltar

    A pod of killer whales attacked and sunk a yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar, between Spain and Morocco, officials confirmed to ABC News. Two people were on board the vessel when the incident ...

  16. Orcas sink another boat in Strait of Gibraltar off Morocco

    On Oct. 31, a pod of killer whales swarmed a Polish yacht sailing in the Strait of Gibraltar. For 45 minutes, the orcas hit the vessel's rudder and damaged the boat, according to the company ...

  17. Couple rescued after killer whales sink yacht near Gibraltar

    Killer whales attacked and sank a couple's yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain's maritime rescue service said. The two people issued an emergency call from a position about 14 miles off ...

  18. Killer whales 'tear bits off boat' in 'scary' hour-long attack off

    The sea mammals, which can grow up to eight metres long, broke the rudder and pieced the hull of the yacht Mustique as it sailed for Gibraltar. Friday 26 May 2023 17:56, UK

  19. Orcas are attacking boats and even sinking them. Here's why.

    The Oct. 31 incident occurred in the Strait of Gibraltar where a pod of orcas sank a mid-size sailing yacht named the Grazie Mamma ... What should you do if your boat is attacked by killer whales.

  20. Orcas are still smashing up boats

    Just two weeks ago, an unknown number of orcas - also known a little less favorably as killer whales - repeatedly rammed the 49-ft (15-m) yacht Alboran Cognac in the Straight of Gilbraltar ...

  21. Orcas sink another yacht in relentless 45-minute attack

    Killer whales have sunk yet another boat in southwestern Europe, marking the fourth such incident in the region in the last two years. The latest attack saw a pod of orcas target a yacht in the ...

  22. When yachts goes down: Why orcas are evil geniuses

    In the meantime, the yacht slowly sank—another victory for the killer whales. Orca rammings have become common in this area, and are attributed to a subpopulation of around 15 whales ...

  23. 2 young orcas ram sailboat off northern France

    Orcas have rammed a sailboat off the coast of Brittany — a whopping 800 miles (1,300 kilometers) north from the Strait of Gibraltar, where the majority of orca attacks on boats have occurred.

  24. 'Absolutely incredible': Man rowing solo across Atlantic is ...

    At least one smacked into his small boat. The whales popped their heads above the surface and seemed to play together — a gam of whales, gadding about — as Waddington, who is rowing some 2,000 ...

  25. The return of Bladerunner the humpback and Split Fin the killer whale

    Both humpback whales and killer whales can live for well over 50 years, so hopefully we can enjoy many more sightings. Dedicated "citizen scientists" capture sightings on social media through ...

  26. Killer whale threw British sailor's yacht around ' like rag doll' in

    A sailor has told how his yacht was thrown around like a "rag doll" by killer whales near Gibraltar in the latest in a growing number of orca attacks on boats. Iain Hamilton, 60, said he was ...

  27. Loss of sea ice putting migrating beluga whales in danger

    How melting sea ice is affecting beluga whales. The important role sea ice plays in the beluga whale migration pattern and the overall ecosystem of the Arctic is ever apparent as it continues to ...

  28. The National

    July 19, 2024 | A massive CrowdStrike-Microsoft tech outage grounds planes, impacts hospitals and disrupts businesses around the world. Joe Biden to return to the campaign trail as more Democrats ...