In a horror moment, the crew members of a sinking yacht watched a pod comprising several 25-feet orcas circling a boat on being violently attacked in the Atlantic. The marine beasts pounced on the French ship off the Portugal coast last week. These creatures also smashed into the vessel relentlessly for 45 minutes before it eventually sank.
The crew was sailing north of Porto when the pod of raging killer whales circled the yacht and started ramming the boat and ripping apart the rudder.
Terrifying footage showed the 12-meter vessel rapidly filling up with water from the damage caused by the unrelenting orcas. The water level can reach the waists of four sailors, and their belongings float around.
A video reflected one of the crew members lying in the flooded cabin, seeking assistance from the coastguard in the terrifying ordeal.
Eliott Boyard, the skipper of the boat, told TF1 that he was at the helm and that there was a significant impact against the vessel as almost seven orcas kept attacking the boat’s rudder.
They bit into it multiple times until the hull, which is also at the same level as the rudder, gave way and resulted in a leak in the boat. This led to its sinking. The sinking crew escaped using the life raft before the ship finally plunged below the surface.
Thankfully, the whales scarpered by the time they successfully escaped in the small raft. The crew made it to land safely.
Researchers have recently recorded a spike in orca attacks along the coasts of Spain and Portugal. Sailors in the area have previously been warned to stay in port at night when videos highlighted raging orcas attempting to capsize boats.
Several videos of similar incidents have been captured, which show the vast white and black creatures buffeting ships and circling vessels.
Over 230 killer-whale interactions have been reported off the coasts of Portugal and Spain in the last two years. These incidents revolve around the vast animals approaching boats and attacking them.
The massive creatures are regularly spotted in the area as they migrate to feed on tuna that breed around the Straits of Gibraltar.
In August 2022, an orca pod reportedly sank a tourist vessel off the coast of Portugal. The beasts smashed a big hole in the ship’s side, sailing off Sines, compelling the holidaymakers to abandon it.
And 45-year-old Martin Evans expressed how he feared that his vessel would – in all likelihood – sink following an “onslaught” of about 30 orcas while his crew members sailed to the Strait of Gibraltar.
Amid the increasing attacks, a specialist suggested that a harpoon strike by poachers sparked “revenge attacks” from an orca pod.
Victor J Hernandez, naturalist, and author, said that an illegal fishing incident in July 2022 sparked the increase in run-ins between marine creatures and sailing vessels.
He believes that the attacks are carried out by a pod of nine and 13 orcas, spearheaded by a male named Pingu.
He said that the sailors in that area who recognize Pingu’s pod quickly owing to their markings have said that they were attacked with harpoons earlier in July.
The illegal fishing boat crew members were most likely scared when they saw the sharks approaching.
Per Hernandez, orcas have a brilliant memory – similar to dolphins: Two of the youngest orcas have reportedly been hitting sailboats as they are traumatized by such vessels. They beat and attempt biting a vessel’s rudders as it reminds them of the harpoon incident.
References: The Sun, Daily Nation Today
Source: Maritime Shipping News