Killer whales bang into 50-foot yacht off Moroccan, forcing 2 on board to abandon ship before it sinks

A pack of killer whales sank a 50-foot yacht in Moroccan waters Sunday when the massive sea mammals slammed into the vessel and forced two sailors aboard to flee, officials said.

Spanish authorities said the crew members were rescued by a passing oil tanker that was alerted to the desperate situation after the boat sprang a leak during the orca encounter in the Strait of Gibraltar.


The pod of orcas have caused trouble for boaters in the area for years.
The pod of orcas have caused trouble for boaters in the area for years. Getty Images

The two people were customers, and the vessel belonged to Spanish company Alboran Charter, according to the Washington Post.  

The yacht, which was 14 miles from the Cape Spartel coast, later sunk to the bottom of the ocean in the latest orca attack that has prompted experts to warn other sailors of danger in the area.

Last October, a Polish tour agency’s yacht was relentlessly hit by a herd of orcas for 45 minutes that led to “major damage and leakage,” the agency said. The boat ended up sinking.


The Rock of Gibraltar is seen from a ferry in the Strait of Gibraltar, southern Spain.
The incident is one of many to happen in the Strait of Gibraltar. REUTERS

Orcas also interfered with a sailing race last year when a boat traveling from the Netherlands to Italy had a 15-minute showdown with the animals. The crew was forced to drop its sails and make a ruckus to repel them.

Since 2020, hundreds of boats sailing in waters near Spain, Morocco and Portugal have encountered at least 15 orcas that led to some of the vessels sinking, the Washington Post reported.

Spain’s ministries for transport and the environment warned sailors of sailing boats and small motorboats that orca activity is at its peak between May and August between the Strait of Gibraltar and the Gulf of Cadiz. Officials encouraged boaters to sail near the coast.

A team of Spanish and Portuguese marine life scientists, called the Atlantic Orca Working Group, said there were 197 interactions between boats and killer whales in 2021 and 207 more in 2022. 

With Post wires

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