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Orcas sink yacht in Strait of Gibraltar

Orcas attack boat in Strait of Gibraltar, sinking the vessel Alboran Cognac. — Reuters

Several orcas stormed a yacht named Alboran Cognac in the Strait of Gibraltar, sinking the vessel in the territorial waters of Morocco.

Spain’s maritime services noted that people on the vessel, which sunk on Sunday, were rescued by an oil tanker passing by, according to Sky News.

It is being dubbed as a new attack in what has become a trend in the past four years as angry orcas have damaged and scuppered many small vessels in that period.

Experts have been wondering what triggers the killer whales to behave in such a way; however, they do believe that mammals are highly intelligent and could display “copycat” or “playful” behaviour.

According to the Spanish authorities, the occupants of the boat reported feeling sudden blows to the hull and rudder, causing breaches, which filled the vessel with water.

The pair was taken to Gibraltar for safety.

 According to the research group GTOA, around 700 interactions between orcas and ships have been reported since May 2020. 

Experts quoted in the report say that the incidents have been limited to the strait.

Last year a yacht was severely damaged by the killer whales and had to be towed to Cadiz.

Spanish Transport Ministry issued a guideline afterward that whenever ships observe any alteration in the behaviour of orcas they should move away from the area and refrain from disturbing during the manoeuvres.

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