May 26

3 Boats Sunk After Apparent Coordinated Orca Attacks

Orcas may be teaching others to attack boats following a spate of strikes on sailboats off the coast of Europe, some observers say.

Sailors have reported a series of “coordinated” attacks by a group of orcas, including a May 22 strike on a 26-foot vessel sailing off the coast of Cape Spartel, near the Strait of Gibraltar.

“[Six] orcas arrived, 2 adults very big, 4 smaller ones,” sailor JP Derunes wrote in Orca Attack Reports, a Facebook group dedicated to flagging orca activity. “Both rudders destroyed and blocked … Boat to be hauled off later this week.”

That attack followed a nighttime strike on May 4, when a Swiss yacht named Champagne, which was also sailing through the Strait of Gibraltar, was attacked by three orcas. They struck its rudder, eventually sinking it, reported Yacht, a German boating news outlet.



At least 15 human-orca incidents were recorded in 2020, the year in which the aggressive encounters are believed to have begun, according to a study published in the journal Marine Mammal Science. Many of those attacks included orcas biting or striking the rudders of sailboats.

No casualties appear to have been reported in the attacks.

Scientists said spikes in aggression may have been started by female orca whom scientists have named “White Gladis.”

White Gladis is believed to have suffered a “critical moment of agony” such as a boat collision, which inflicted trauma on the orca, triggering a behavioural switch that other killer whales have learned to imitate.

The majority of orca-sailor encounters have been harmless.

“In more than 500 interaction events recorded since 2020 there are three sunken ships. We estimate that killer whales only touch one ship our of every hundred that sail through a location,” Alfredo López Fernandez, a biologist at the University of Aviero, told Live Science.

According to a study in Biological Conservation, a peer-reviewed journal, “sophisticated learning abilities” have been found to exist in orcas, with imitation found to be particularly significant.

2 Responses to “3 Boats Sunk After Apparent Coordinated Orca Attacks”

  1. Bryan G

    I’ve been following orcas as a person who loves these mammals. they are the humans of the ocean they have different languages and cultures. therw part of the brain that deals with emotions is 30% or more larger than ours. these attacks are coming from one pods there is ZERO deaths on humans from orcas in the wild, over 70 attacks in captivity so what does that tell you? be curious to find out why this is happening but probably a young pod having a laugh or fed up with people which I can relate too. this doesn’t mean these animals have gone mad or their all out to attack humans so don’t be alarmed but they are to be respected. being raised on tbe coast of BC they have a very powerful mysterious presence about them. seeing one in the wild will take your breath away especially when then surface for air right beside you.💚🙏🏻

  2. Ron S

    You might want to find out the energy of what kind of person is piloting the boat, before you blame the Whales… know what I mean? Lol

    This story makes me think of my day today. A buddy of mine took me in his boat today for a couple hours of fishing and we stopped at the bait store so I could buy us some worms.

    As we were fishing and dragging the worms on the bottom I had a thought about a comment I made in the blog lately about people altering themselves into something less natural with technology, I called them “worms” lol.

    Then I had a thought about the times I’ve picked worms at night for fishing the next day and how it wasn’t always easy to get them because they’d zip back underground as soon as you had a light on them.

    Then I had a thought about how easily they die in the sun and warmth, but also how good they are for catching fish. Then I thought how miserable it must be to have the life of a worm, always hiding in the darkness away from the light, no arms, no legs, no creativity… just poking around in the darkness with the echoes of real life, work and happiness coming from those humans on the surface.

    If worms get even near the surface or try to breach it for any length of time they get picked off by birds, roasted by the sun or plucked by a wholesome human looking forward to enjoying a day near the water and then fed to the fish. Worms must absolutely hate humans, birds, the sun and also fish.
    Their only revenge is to destroy our bodies after our spirit is already long gone.

    Then it hits me… some symbols for Jesus or the Holy spirit are sometimes a fish, or Jesus (as a man), or a dove (bird) or rays of sunlight. It makes me chuckle at how I see so much trying to mock the Creator and he always gets the last laugh… at that same moment a fish surfaces behind the boat, (thought confirmed).

    Why hasn’t anyone told me this symbolism before?!

    We were ready to leave that part of the lake and head back to the boat landing and we asked some kids fishing nearby off the shore if they wanted the rest of our worms. They said “sure!).

    We got as close with the boat as we could to them about 20 feet away (a long throw for a small foam container in the wind I thought), so I said to one of the kids “it’s a 50/50 shot I’ll throw it in the water and you won’t get it!”. The kid was at the ready and I flung it, it goes way way farther than I thought and goes up and over the kids head and lands smack dab in a large puddle on the shore behind him and the kid was able to get it. Once again I start to chuckle and think to myself “God must really have a good sense of humor today, I didn’t expect to be proved wrong on both sides of a 50/50 outcome”, he’s teaching me all kinds of things today lol.

    Well, we didn’t catch any fish today but we really didn’t need them for food either… I have a nice piece of venison lion thawed out from the success of last years deer season. It’s almost time to marinade it and toss it on the grill that I still need to jenga out of the garage yet.

    What a beautiful day out there anyways. It reminds that some days are more about appreciating the experience of the fishing and the day more so than in the actual catching… and that God is good… and hilarious too🌞

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