Orcas attacking ships in Spanish and Portuguese waters have repeatedly engaged in bewildering behavior

File photo. It’s the latest episode in a disturbing trend in orcas’ behavior (REUTERS/Enrique Marcarian/File Photo)

A group Sharks A boat capsized several times in the Strait of Gibraltar this week, causing so much damage that Spanish lifeguards had to come to the aid of four of its crew members.

It’s the latest episode in a conundrum Orca behavioral trends It lives on the Atlantic coast of the Iberian Peninsula, which has forced researchers to search for a cause.

The Spanish Maritime Rescue Service said the orcas Again and again bumped into Mustique, The 65-foot (20-meter) British-flagged vessel lost its rudder and broke its hull late Wednesday. Spanish rescuers had to pump water out of the sea before they could be towed to safety.

The warning reached the Spanish service through their British counterparts, who sent out a distress call, the Spanish service said. A rescue helicopter and a boat were sent to assist the disabled vessel at Barbet.

about this 24th such incident Registered by the service This year. The service does not provide data for the previous year.

An orca swims next to a boat in the Strait of Gibraltar (@ april_georgina/via REUTERS)

But the Atlantic Orcas Working Group, a group of Spanish and Portuguese marine researchers studying orcas near the Iberian Peninsula, said the incidents were recorded. For the first time three years ago. In 2020, the team recorded 52 such incidents, some of which resulted in damaged rudders. 197 in 2021 and 207 in 2022.

Killer whales appear to attack ships in a broad arc that covers the west coast of the Iberian Peninsula, from the waters near the Strait of Gibraltar to Galicia in northwest Spain.

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According to the group, these killer whales A small group of about 35 whales They spend most of the year off the Iberian coast chasing bluefin tuna. Antarctic killer whales, known as Iberian killer whales, average five to 6.5 meters (16-21 ft) in length, which can reach nine meters (29.5 ft).

No attacks on swimmers were recorded. Once the ship is immobilized ship communications will cease.

(With information from AP)

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Esmond Harmon

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