25 Jun, 2023 @ 09:06
1 min read

Dutch captain speaks of ‘scary moment’ when orcas attack yacht in Straits of Gibraltar off Spain’s coast

Orca 800

A DUTCH captain described the ‘scary moment’ when a pod of orcas started to bite at the rudder of his yacht in the Straits of Gibraltar.

A video he took showed the orcas, also called killer whales, circle his ocean racing yacht before ramming it and biting the rudder.

“This was a scary moment,” Ocean Race Team JAJO skipper Jelmer van Beek told Reuters News Agency.

“Three orcas came straight at us and started hitting the rudders.”

He described the orcas as ‘beautiful animals’, but how the attack was a ‘dangerous moment for us as a team’.

“We took down the sails and slowed down the boat as quickly as possible and luckily after a few attacks they went away,” van Beek said.

Another racing team from Portugal reported a similar encounter with the warring orcas that have been hitting headlines across the world.

But on this occasion there was no damage to the boat.

There have been about 20 different orca attacks in May alone, mainly occurring in the Straits of Gibraltar or off the coast of Portugal.

Three boats were damaged to the point of sinking, forcing emergency services to come to the rescue.

But a marine expert from Gibraltar said the incidents are normal as it is a way for older orcas to train their young to hunt.

“They are apex predators used to hunting huge tuna fish so they need to hone their skills to catch them,” Lewis Stagnetto of The Nautilus Project said on social media.

“They’re not out there to get people so it is important to understand this.”

He urged water users ‘not to take matters into your own hands’ as some skippers have talked about carrying shotguns out at sea.


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