16 Jul, 2021 @ 14:15
1 min read

Dire Straits: Another sailing boat attacked by rogue pod of killer whales off Gibraltar


A SAILING boat was caught adrift while being circled by a pod of killer whales in the Strait of Gibraltar on Thursday morning (July 15).

Spain’s Coast Guard came to the rescue though and escorted the boat, with its crew of three to the safety of Barbate harbour.

At 03:45 the Coast Guard received a distress call from the 10 metre sailing boat: the sailors said that they had spotted the orcas very near their boat. So following protocol they turned off their engine and took down their sail.

Whale Rules
Guidance for boats near whales – Government of Gibraltar

They were unfortunate though, as the waters were very choppy, with waves of over two metres. The unlucky sailors were caught adrift: stranded in the Strait being circled by a pod of 8 metre (25ft), 6 ton apex predators. 

The Coast Guard dispatched the Salvamar Enif, a 21m specialised rescue vessel. The Salvamar Enif and her crew safely towed the sailing vessel back to the Gatidian coastline, arriving in Barbate at 06:00. 

Cádiz. Sucesos. Localizada Una Patera Con Diez Personas A Bordo A Seis Millas De Punta Camarinal
Coast Guard rescue vessel – Salvamiento Marítimo

This orca attack is not an isolated incident, there have been a number of reports of such aggression from the whales in the past couple of months. Indeed, it is believed that the same group of young orcas is responsible for all of the attacks.  

In late June, a British sailing crew of three ‘feared for their lives’ as they were attacked by a pod of killer whales off the Strait of Gibraltar.

The orcas were said to have slammed into the yacht for two hours, biting off chunks of the vessel and causing considerable damage.

Crew member Nathan Jones, 27, from Hampshire, told The Sun he was beginning to think, ‘is this how it all ends?’. 

Martin Evans, 45, who was also on the boat, said it ‘felt like they had a plan and were angry’.

The crew had been sailing from Ramsgate, Kent, and were attacked near the Strait, where the boat is now being fixed.


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