(RepublicanDaily.org) – A pod of orcas, more commonly known as killer whales, recently had an encounter with a yacht off the coast of Morocco for 45 minutes, managing to capsize the vessel.
The yacht, which belongs to Polish tour company Morskie Mile, was touring the Strait of Gibraltar at the time. The group of killer whales approached the boat and hit the steering fin repeatedly, causing leaks and irreparable damage to the vessel.
Thankfully, the crew and passengers of the boat were unharmed after receiving assistance from a search and rescue team as well as from the Moroccan Navy. The boat, however, was damaged beyond repair and eventually sunk close to the entrance of Tanger-Med port, which is part of a network of ports located around 30 miles northeast of Tangier along the Strait of Gibraltar.
Marine biologists and scientists are baffled by the recent spate of violent orca behavior against sea vessels, with some even hesitant to call the encounters “attacks” to begin with.
In an open letter addressed to the public, a group of scientists called on the public and the media to “avoid projecting narratives” onto the animals’ behavior, citing fears that humans may retaliate against the creatures. Pending further evidence, “people should not assume they understand the animals’ motivations,” the scientists said. Marine biologists say that besides “attacking,” the orcas could simply be playing, or could possibly have had a negative encounter with a boat, prompting defensive behavior whenever they encounter one.
Orcas are known to be highly intelligent, and work very well in a group, or “pod.” Their monicker “killer whales” come partly out of their penchant for hunting down whales many times bigger than themselves using complex group dynamics and maneuvers.
Since 2020, sea vessels along the Strait of Gibraltar have reported pods of orcas bumping and ramming into them. While some fishing boats have experienced such behavior, the most frequent targets of the killer whales have been sailing boats.
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