Scientists have been unable to explain why orcas have been smashing into boats off the coasts of Spain And Portugal.
These incidents have been occurring frequently over the past few months and have made for some terrifying encounters.
From the Strait of Gibraltar in the south to Galicia in the north, orcas (killer whales) have been wrecking havoc on boats and have even injured crew.
Two vessels lost sections of their rudders, while at least one crewperson suffered bruising due to the ramming of the orcas. Several other boats sustained various kinds of serious damage.
In a recent attack, a 36ft boat off A Coruña on Spain’s northern coast was struck in its stern at least 15 times by a killer whale. Steering was lost and the vessel had to be towed into harbor.
Attacks on boats seem to be premeditated
The attacks appear to be purposely orchestrated by a pod of orcas. It’s thought it more likely that the same pod is responsible for all the attacks. They are known to be highly intelligent pack animals and are also the largest of the dolphin family.
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In another attack, at the end of July off Cape Trafalgar, a 46ft delivery boat was surrounded by nine orcas. They smashed themselves into the hull for more than an hour – causing the boat to spin 180 degrees, the engine to be disabled and the rudder broken. In this case, the orcas were reportedly communicating with each other through a form of whistling.
Other sailors have described scary experiences including ‘sledgehammer’ like sounds on impact and the feeling of the whole boat being lifted.
It’s still too early to know for certain what is causing this disturbing behavior. One strong theory though is that it’s stress-related.
Certain local populations of killer whales are considered threatened or endangered. This is caused by factors such as the depletion of prey, habitat loss, pollution, and capture.
IMAGE FEATURED: birdiegal