Mystery of killer whales: attack on sailing ship – Mallorca regatta


Ragatta Boat Attack: Why Orcas Attack Sailing Ships

22.07.2023, 14:55

| Reading time: 2 minutes

Orcas attack boats in Spain – researchers are at a loss

Orcas attack boats in Spain – researchers are at a loss

Orcas attacking sailing boats: That sounds like a scene from the dark novel “The Swarm” by Frank Schätzing. Such attacks are a reality off the southern Spanish coast. This year alone, Spanish sea rescuers have counted 28 “interactions” with killer whales in which boats were damaged.

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Orca attacks on pleasure boats are reported again and again. Now it caught a participant in the Mallorca regatta. What irritates the animals?

Berlin. Grabbed again killer whales Boats arrive, this time a sailing ship on its way to the Mallorca regatta “Copa del Rey”. The animals always act in a similar way. They ram and bite the rudder blade. The ship quickly becomes unable to manoeuvre. Scientists are puzzled about the motives of the orcas. The fact is:

  • It’s about a specific species orca iberica, which is threatened with extinction. Their number is estimated at 35 to 50 animals. .
  • The danger zone extends from the Bay of Biscay in the north of the Iberian Peninsula to the Strait of Gibraltar in the south, i.e. mostly off the coasts of Spain and Portugal.
  • The attacks started in 2020 and their number goes to over 450.
  • Affected are pleasure boats, mostly sailing ships, mostly monohull boats. Many have already fallen.
  • People have not been harmed so far.

The killer whales usually target the rudder blades

Orcas had already attacked two racing yachts at the Ocean Race in June. Now the “Kapote III” got caught near the Strait of Gibraltar. It had to be towed by the sea rescue service. Hardly a month now goes by without it new incidents.

15 orcas, too killer whales called, could be identified. 13 of them were juveniles. Some scientists suspect that the animals just play want. Experts avoid the word “attack” and prefer to talk about “interactions”.

Others introduce the attacks on traumatic experience back, on a collision with a boat. Biologist Dan Olsen of the North Gulf Oceanic Society believes that it all started when “a female or her calf was injured by contact with the rudder of a boat.” Orcas are very curious and highly intelligent. Many experts also assume that they deliberately destroy the rudder blades.

Many theories, no clear explanation for the attacks

There is also the theory that the orcas are bothered by the noise in the sea and that the attacks have increased after shipping traffic increased after the Corona crisis ended. Another theory goes by revenge actions off – for the reduction of fish stocks.

Initially, most crews responded by remaining silent and turning off the engines. Recently, the opposite has been recommended: That sea ​​area to leave as soon as possible.

Many skippers have taken to sailing very close to shore – on the 20 meter depth line. You are safe there. There is also whatsapp groupswhich publish the whereabouts of orcas in a timely manner in order to warn sailors in good time. Also read: Strange Phenomenon: Killer Whales Attack Sailing Boats

vacation in Spain

Sat., 22.07.2023, 2.55 p.m

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