BY Lorri Wickenhauser, The Western JournalJune 13, 2023
1 year ago
BY 
 | June 13, 2023
1 year ago

Killer Whales Coordinate to Attack Another Boat - Captain Gives Chilling Detail About What He Heard Before Ambush

A group of whales appears to have gone rogue in the Strait of Gibraltar, attacking boats in the waters off the coast of Spain.

And what's really alarming, observers say, is that they appear to be perfecting their techniques and teaching their young to imitate them.

The aggressive behavior by pods of orcas, or killer whales, was first noticed in the spring of 2020, LiveScience reported.

Since then, the outlet reported, at least three boats have been sunk.

One attack took place May 4, according to the German-language outlet Yacht.

"[T]he Swiss sailing yacht 'Champagne' was attacked by three orcas just off Gibraltar so hard that the crew had to abandon it and sank a little later," a translated version of the report said.

Skipper Werner Schaufelberger told the sailing news outlet that the damage was inflicted by an adult whale and two juveniles.

"The little ones shook the rudder at the back while the big one repeatedly backed up and rammed the ship with full force from the side," he said.

“At first I thought we had hit something. But then I quickly realized that it was orcas attacking the ship.”

Schaufelberger said it appeared the adult whale was conducting a lesson of sorts.

“The two little orcas copied the technology from the big one and now, with a slight run-up, shot towards the ship. Mainly on the rudder, but also on the keel.”

The yacht started taking on water and the crew contacted Spain's Coast Guard, which sent a helicopter and rescue vessel. They attempted to tow the Champagne to the port of Barbate, but it sank before they reached the harbor.

Captain Dan Kriz, who delivers yachts in the area, told Newsweek he was one of the first to experience one of the attacks in 2020.

"I was sailing with my delivery crew through the Strait of Gibraltar delivering a yacht when I was surrounded with a pack of eight orcas, pushing the boat around for about an hour," he said.

That time, the orcas damaged the rudder, disabling the boat and causing the crew to call for a tow to the nearest marina.

Then, on April 15, it happened again.

"While delivering a catamaran for the Catamaran Guru company, the same pack of orcas appeared out of nowhere," Kriz told Newsweek.

"[W]e felt like we got hit bad with a wave, but with the second hit, we realized that the same situation from 2020 was happening," he said.

"My first reaction was, 'Please! Not again,'" Kriz said.

This time around, the whales appeared to have improved their technique, he said.

"First time, we could hear them communicating under the boat," Kriz said. "This time, they were quiet, and it didn't take them that long to destroy both rudders.

"Not only was the attack more targeted, but it was also more efficient. "

A video shared on Instagram and Twitter shows a video of an orca swimming up to the rear of a ship, breaking off a rudder and swimming off with the piece of the boat in its mouth.

Jeff Corwin, a biologist and wildlife conservationist, told CBS News there are two primary theories about why orcas are displaying this behavior.

Some suspect it is some sort of game that the whales are playing, he said. Others theorize that it could stem from a negative experience, such as being hit and injured by a boat, Corwin said.

However, the news network quoted Andrew Trites, professor and director of Marine Mammal Research at the University of British Columbia, as saying, "Nobody knows why this is happening."

"My idea, or what anyone would give you, is informed speculation. It is a total mystery, unprecedented," Trites said.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

Written by: Lorri Wickenhauser, The Western Journal

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