Orcas sink boat in Strait of Gibraltar, prompting a warning from officials

Officials are telling mariners to stay close to the shore.
Posted at 11:26 AM, May 14, 2024

Officials in Spain are warning mariners after a killer whale was responsible for sinking a boat in the Strait of Gibraltar.

Spain’s maritime rescue service said orcas caused a 33-foot boat to sink 14 miles from Cape Spartel. Two people on board the boat notified authorities before the boat sank. They were rescued and not injured.

Officials are now suggesting that mariners remain close to the shore when traveling through an area between the Gulf of Cádiz and the Strait of Gibraltar. This region, off the northern coast of Morocco and the southern coast of Spain, generally sees a spike of killer whales from May through August.

Officials said the guidance is not only meant to protect human life, but orcas native to the area.

Rakus, a wild male Sumatran orangutan, before and after he applied chewed leaves from a medicinal plant.

Animals and Insects

A wild orangutan used a medicinal plant to treat a wound

AP via Scripps News
4:41 PM, May 02, 2024

Sunday's incident was the latest to involve orcas sinking a boat in the region. A similar incident was reported in October 2023.

GT Orca Atlantica tracks incidents involving orcas and boats. The group said that there are dozens of instances a year of boats interacting with orcas.

"In many testimonials, orcas were recorded as pushing the boat, accelerating the speed of the boat, pushing it forward," the group says. This pushing took place when the ship was moving or when the ship was stationary, so orcas push the ship regardless of the speed of the ship."