In the early hours of Thursday, a group of orcas broke the rudder and pierced the hull after ramming into the Mustique on its way to Gibraltar, prompting its crew of four to contact Spanish authorities for help, a spokesman for the maritime rescue service said. The service deployed a rapid-response vessel and a helicopter carrying a bilge pump to assist the 20-metre (66 feet) vessel, which was sailing under a British flag, he added. The Mustique was towed to the port of Barbate, in the province of Cadiz, for repairs.
According to the research group GTOA, which tracks populations of the Iberian orca sub-species, the incident follows at least 20 interactions this month alone in the Strait of Gibraltar between small vessels and the highly social apex predators. In 2022, there were 207 reported interactions, GTOA data showed. Earlier in May, the sailing yacht Alboran Champagne suffered a similar impact from three orcas half a nautical mile off Barbate. The ship could not be towed as it was completely flooded and was left adrift to sink.
According to the Daily Telegraph researchers believe that a female orca called White Gladis is seeking revenge after being traumatised by a collision with a boat, or being trapped in illegal fishing nets.
Guidelines issued by the Spanish Transport Ministry stipulate that whenever ships observe any alteration in the behaviour of orcas - such as sudden changes of direction or speed - they should leave the area as soon as possible and avoid further disturbance to the animals during the manoeuvres.
Every interaction between a ship and an orca must be reported to authorities, the ministry added. Although known as killer whales, endangered orcas are part of the dolphin family. They can measure up to eight metres and weigh up to six tonnes as adults.
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Marvin Le MartianAs with most things, there's British stuff, and then everything else. Clearly, it's another example of how Britain is being unfairly treated by "the rest of the world".
Crikey MDB is it really more important that the boat was British than the fact that these protected orcas are seriously pissed off at boats and stupid humans doing harm to them!
my first thought on reading this was : could they be russian revenge whale-drones
Blimey, you would have thought that when the whale saw the British flag she would have respected that yacht.