Killer Whales Attack Couple’s Boat in the Strait of Gibraltar

Spanish authorities have reported that killer whales attacked and sank a couple’s yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar.

According to details reported by Yahoo News, the couple made an emergency call last Sunday from a location about 22 kilometers from Cape Spartel, Morocco, after a group of killer whales attacked their sailboat. Rescue teams were immediately dispatched to their location.

The couple said that water began flooding the boat after the whales broke one of its sides and caused a hole in the hull.

The site reports that rescuers arrived by helicopter, and the couple was picked up by an oil tanker about an hour after the attack began, while their 15-meter yacht eventually sank.

This is the latest example of killer whale behavior that has puzzled scientists, especially since they have collided with hundreds of ships in the same area in recent years.

This incident adds to nearly 700 others between ships and killer whales in Spanish coastal waters or nearby, according to records kept by the Atlantic Orca Working Group (GTOA), which tracks instances where the animals approach and collide with boats. Approximately 20% of these collisions have caused damage to the vessels, involving killer whales from a family of 15 individuals known to scientists as “Gladys.”

One of the whales, named “White Gladys,” is an adult that scientists have observed seemingly leading younger whales towards boats to initiate attacks.

While experts do not believe that killer whales are deliberately trying to destroy boats, the reasons for these attacks remain unclear.

Sailors have described how the killer whales circle the boats and launch what appear to be “coordinated attacks,” leading to speculation that the killer whales may be responding to negative experiences caused by collisions with ships or targeting by fishermen who compete with them for bluefin tuna, their preferred diet.

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