A pod of killer whales sank another yacht in the Strait of Gibraltar (6 photos + 2 videos)

Category: Animals, PEGI 0+
16 May 2024

On Sunday morning, killer whales attacked a 15-meter vessel 14 miles off Cape Spartel. There were two people on board the Alboran Cognac. This is the fourth such incident over the past year.

The ambush was most likely set up by a pod led by a killer whale named Gladys, which has been attacking sailors for several years.

The crew said they felt sudden impacts on the yacht's hull before it began to sink in Moroccan waters. The sailors sent a distress signal and were rescued by an oil tanker passing nearby. The sailboat soon sank.

Attack on a tourist yacht off the coast of Sesimbra, Portugal, 2023

The first killer whale attack on a ship in the Strait of Gibraltar was recorded in 2020. Similar ambushes have occurred repeatedly in the area between Spain and Morocco. Spanish authorities have banned small yachts from going to sea in the northwest coast.

Last year, killer whales rammed a ship for an hour near Morocco.

Attack Map

According to experts, the group is led by the killer whale Gladys, who can teach her relatives to attack ships passing through the strait and sink them.

So, in November last year, a maritime gang violently attacked a yacht near a Moroccan port. The ship belonged to the Polish cruise company Morskie Mile. Despite attempts by the captain, crew, rescuers and the Royal Moroccan Navy to bring the ship to port, it sank.

Killer whales sank a Polish yacht last year

On May 2, six killer whales rammed the hull of the Bavaria 46 yacht, on which Britons Janet Morris and Stephen Bidwell were traveling. The terror lasted for an hour.

Stephen said: "I'll never forget it. I kept reminding myself we had a 22-ton steel boat, but it was very scary to see three of them coming fast." “The larger individual was nearby. She seemed to be in charge of the process,” the man added, reinforcing speculation that it was Gladys.

There are several possible reasons for this animal behavior. This may be a sign of curiosity. However, Alfredo Lopez Fernandez, a biologist at the University of Aveiro in Portugal, believes that fear is hidden behind the aggression. The killer whale probably survived the collision with the ship and is now defending itself, attracting its relatives to do so.

Killer whales are the largest representatives of the dolphin family. These predators are capable of destroying large groups of whales, hence the name "killer".

What makes killer whales unique is that they often hunt in schools of up to 40 individuals and feed on fish, dolphins, sea lions, seals, sharks and rays. They grow up to 10 m in length and weigh up to 6 tons.

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