Home US Gladis the killer whale strikes again! Sailing vessel off Gibraltar becomes the first this year to be sunk by orcas that have been targeting boats in the area since 2020

Gladis the killer whale strikes again! Sailing vessel off Gibraltar becomes the first this year to be sunk by orcas that have been targeting boats in the area since 2020

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White Gladis (left) and Black Gladis (right) have been involved - along with Gray Gladis - in many of the attacks on boats off the Portuguese and Spanish coasts (archive image of the orcas from 2020)
  • A pod of 15 Iberian killer whales, known as gladis, connected to ship sinkings

A sailboat off Gibraltar this year became the first to be sunk by orcas that have been attacking ships in the area since 2020.

The crew of the ship Alborán Cognac requested help from the rescue services around nine in the morning on Sunday, stating that their ship had been damaged by killer whales 22 kilometers from Cape Espartel, at the southern entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, in Moroccans.

Sailors said they had felt knocks on the hull, before their rudder was damaged and they noticed a leak that threatened to sink their 50-foot, half-local boat. The country reports.

They were quickly rescued by a nearby oil tanker around 10 a.m., but the sailboat became adrift and sank after the orca attack.

Experts believe that the first shipwreck caused by killer whales should be attributed to 15 Iberian killer whales, known as gladis.

White Gladis (left) and Black Gladis (right) have been involved – along with Gray Gladis – in many of the attacks on boats off the Portuguese and Spanish coasts (archive image of the orcas from 2020)

The pack, led by the worst culprits White Gladis, Black Gladis and Gray Gladis, moves between the northern Iberian Peninsula and the Strait of Gibraltar and has destroyed several ships over the years.

They have been linked to a total of seven shipwrecks – five sailing boats and two fishing boats – and hundreds of terrifying encounters in which they attacked vessels in the area of ​​Gibraltar, Spain, Portugal, France and Morocco.

Experts say ramming ships is just a game for marine mammals and a sign of sociability rather than a fight for survival.

An Atlantic Orca Task Force (GTOA) has been created to manage the group and has recorded at least 673 interactions (when orcas approach ships with or without contact) between the group of orcas and ships since 2020.

A study on marine mammal science in 2022 concluded that attacks on small boats follow the same pattern: the orcas join in by approaching from the stern, disabling the boat by hitting the rudder, and then lose interest.

Experts have said orcas may be teaching others how to chase and attack boats, especially their calves.

Some even think that one orca learned to stop boats and then taught others to do it.

In a terrifying encounter last June (pictured), an orca surrounds a high-end yacht before savagely ripping off its rudder, leaving the boat's crew adrift off the coast of Gibraltar.

In a terrifying encounter last June (pictured), an orca surrounds a high-end yacht before savagely ripping off its rudder, leaving the boat’s crew adrift off the coast of Gibraltar.

Just last year, dozens of boats were damaged in attacks, with footage showing orcas ripping off rudders and crashing into the sides of small sailboats.

In a terrifying encounter last June, an orca surrounded a high-end yacht before savagely tearing off the rudder, leaving the boat’s crew adrift off the coast of Gibraltar.

The ship, a 48-foot catamaran, was attacked during a delivery trip, and footage shows the whale biting into part of the ship, which is crucial for steering.

The captain of the Bali 4.8, who had experienced orca attacks in the area before, said he noticed the “unusual movement of the boat” before seeing a pod of four or five orcas emerge.

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