Boat Attacks by Killer Whales Escalate as Young Orcas Join In

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Live Science reported that Orcas, also known as killer whales are attacking boats and young calves are learning to do the same.

The outlet reported that Alfredo Lopez Fernandez is a biologist from the University of Aveiro, Portugal, and a representative of the Atlantic Orca Working Group.

Lopez Fernandez made reference to a worrying series of attacks against boats in the Strait of Gibraltar. In an attack on May 4 off the coasts of Spain, three orcas repeatedly rammed and aimed at a boat’s rudder.

Live Science reported that Werner Schaufelberger, the skipper of Yacht, a German magazine, said: “The little ones shake the rudder in the back, while the big one repeatedly reverses and rams the ship from the side with full force.”

The Spanish coastguard rescued Schaufelberger, his crew, and the boat at the entrance of the port.

The Australian news outlet 9 News reported that just two days prior to the attack on Schaufelberger’s yacht, experienced sailor Greg Blackburn, from Leeds, United Kingdom, tangled six of these apex predators.

Greg Blackburn, a journalist at the outlet, told them that the incident near Tangier was not malicious.

Blackburn explained that in the video, you can see the matriarch attacking the rudder while her calf is at her side. She then drops back to let the calf have a try.

He added, “It was certainly some kind of education that went on.”

Blackburn’s boat suffered damage worth $8,000-$9,000, including a damaged rudder and two broken helm chains.

The calmness of the skipper was praised by a British couple sailing the 46-foot Bavaria to complete a sailing course. It was made worse by the fact that the winds that day were 25-30 knots.

Orcas love the thrill of a chase. We would have preferred to stay still but the wind made that impossible.

Lopez Fernandez, a Live Science reporter, said that most encounters with orcas were harmless. The increase in aggression is more recent.

Lopez Fernandez believes that a “critical moment” of pain, such as a collision, could have changed behavior. It is possible that others have copied the behavior of this single orca.

Deborah Giles, an Ocra researcher, suggests that the interaction between the boats and the people may be more like a game than aggression.

Below is a video by the Daily Mail showing a pod consisting of six Orcas swarming a yacht off the coasts of Morocco for an hour.