Saturday, September 26, 2020
Sept. 26, 2020

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Researchers puzzled by orcas attacking boats


Researchers are befuddled by a group of killer whales that are attacking boats off the coasts of Spain and Portugal.

The whales appear to have targeted sailboats traveling along the Strait of Gibraltar to Galicia in multiple incidents over the last two months, damaging boats and injuring sailors.

Sailor Victoria Morris described an incident to the Guardian that felt “totally orchestrated” after a group of nine whales surrounded a boat and rammed it for an hour.

“The noise was really scary. They were ramming the keel, there was this horrible echo, I thought they could capsize the boat,” Morris said. “And this deafening noise as they communicated, whistling to each other. It was so loud that we had to shout.”

The boat needed to be towed away because the damage was so extensive. The crew later reported the rudder was rendered unusable and there were bite marks on the keel, the ship’s underside.

Researchers said it was unusual for orcas to become so aggressive, though the highly intelligent animals are known to follow boats.