Orcas of the Strait attack the ships again and develop new techniques

phenomenon intervention from throat killer whales with small boats passing through the area, it is not only decreasing but increasing. Harassment attacks (or “interactions,” as experts suggest) resume with the coming of good weather, and there are no longer a few instances involved in these unusual acts, but the number is growing.

Sea Rescue has already explained, At least 17 ‘attacks’ on these cetaceans since the start of the year versus pleasure boats, almost always sailboats, and since these events became commonplace in July 2020, the total rises to 250. Favorite region is the Gulf of Cádiz, and also Galicia.

The 17 interactions recorded so far at the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar have, as always, consisted of killer whale blows to the hull, damage to the rudder (the part where they had the most fun), and a general attack. attitude towards harassment experts still don’t know if this is a game or beyond. There were even theories circulating that these killer whales took revenge on the boats for being attacked and harpooned in this area a few years ago.

They dragged the boat with a rope

However, an innovation produced this year draws attention. And for the first time in one of these episodes, killer whales First they disabled the rudder, leaving the ship adrift, then using their mouths they dragged the rope on which the ship was pulled. This event took place in Barbate (Cádiz) on April 24, and it adds a new element to the already intriguing, but not dangerous, behavior of these cetaceans.

An orca dragging a boat’s towline Sea rescue


“In all analyzed interaction cases that have occurred since July 2020 No aggressive behavior of cetaceans towards humans has been observed.”, highlights a statement from the Ministry of Ecological Transition. However, 15% of these incidents caused property damage to boats, forcing the Sea Captain to issue a temporary ban on sailing in that area for small or medium sailboats last summer.

While scientists are trying to unravel the cause of these actions, the truth is that the number of individuals involved in them is increasing. According to the data of the study group formed on this case, There were three orcas (even their “names” were known) involved in 2020, but now there are 14.

To find out the reasons for this behavior, a group promoted by the Ministry was formed at the end of 2021 to find out the reasons for the attacks and harassment of boats in both the Bosphorus and Galicia.

killer whale example area of ​​interest


It so happens that The killer whale population in the Bosphorus is highly threatened and in fact only about 50 specimens remain.divided into six herds. They specialize in catching bluefin tuna that they chase during their migration journeys.

In the case of such interaction, which usually takes 20 to 30 minutesAuthorities advise captains to turn off the engine, lower the sails, leave the rudder on the rail, disconnect the automatic and turn off the siren, stay quiet and not lean.

In any case, both governments and experts remind us that these are animals without a history of violence or aggression towards humans, and that they were not actually involved in such an event during their interaction with the ships.

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Environment department contact address:crisclimatica@prensaiberica.es

Source: Informacion

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