Three killer whales launched a vicious attack on an Ocean Race ship, bashing it and biting into its rudders as the crew tried to drive them away. In video footage from the event, an orca can be seen menacingly approaching the yacht before diving underwater and maneuvering it repeatedly.
Three whales attack Ocean Race ship
When the JAJO Ocean Race team entered the Strait of Gibraltar on Thursday, the assault lasted several heart-stopping minutes. The orcas circled the Dutch ship before crashing into it and biting into the rudders, while the crew pounded on the hull to scare them off. “This was a scary moment,” said JAJO team captain Jelmer van Beek.
Three killer whales charged directly at us and started pounding on the rudders. It was impressive to watch the orcas, which are stunning animals, but it was also a risky moment for our team. We instantly lowered the sails and slowed the boat down and luckily after a few attacks they dissipated.
The Ocean Race is a yacht race that has circumnavigated the world every three to four years since 1973. The 14th edition of the race will start on January 15 in Alicante, Spain, and is expected to finish in early summer. . .
The Portuguese team Mirpuri/Trifork Racing also reported contact with orcas. No one was injured and no boats were damaged, according to organizers.
Such incidents have been on the rise.
The number of contacts between orcas and ships in the Strait of Gibraltar and Portugal has been rising steadily, with more than 20 incidents recorded in May alone, according to authorities.
The activity appears to be spreading to other family groups of killer whales, according to organizers, and in some cases, ships have sustained substantial damage and at least three of them have sunk.
Experts hypothesized that the creatures ramming and sinking ships off the coast of Spain may have acted in retaliation for the fishermen beating up their matriarchs. Since 2020, killer whales off the Iberian coast have reportedly been involved in hundreds of coordinated attacks on ships.
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