(PatriotWise.com) — A pod of orcas (AKA killer whales) attacked a Polish yacht off the coast of Morocco last week, sinking the vessel, The New York Post reported.
The killer whales repeatedly slammed into the yacht Grazie Mamma II as it was passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, hitting the rudder for about 45 minutes, according to a Facebook post from the Morskie Mile tour company.
The whales caused significant leakage and damage to the vessel. Despite attempts to salvage it, the yacht sank near the entrance to the Tanger-Med port. None of the crew was injured in the incident.
Killer whales can weigh more than 30,000 pounds and grow to over 30 feet.
Orca attacks on boats have been increasing in both ferocity and frequency in recent years, with several boats being sunk. However, it is unknown why orcas have been targeting human vessels.
In May, orcas attacked three boats off the coast of Spain over the course of several weeks.
According to a report in Live Science, in one instance, it appeared that the orca calf was being taught by its mother how to charge into the vessel’s rudder.
A 2022 study published in Marine Mammal Science found that killer whales direct their attacks primarily on sailboats, following a specific pattern. The orcas approach from the stern and strike the rudder. However, once they successfully stop the vessel, the whales generally lose interest.
According to biologist Alfred López Fernandez from the University of Aveiro in Portugal, since 2020, there have been over 500 incidents recorded in which orcas attacked vessels. Of those, only three boats sank.
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