Killer whales have caused damage to a sailing boat off the coast of southern Spain, according to the local sea rescue service. A group of orcas broke the rudder and punctured the hull after ramming the ship, Mustique, on its way to Gibraltar, in the early hours of Thursday. The crew of four asked the Spanish authorities for help before the vessel was towed to Barbate for repairs. This incident is part of dozens of orca attacks on ships recorded off the coasts of Spain and Portugal so far this year.
This interaction follows at least 20 incidents between small vessels and the highly social apex predators in the Strait of Gibraltar this month alone, according to research group GTOA. In 2022, there were 207 reported interactions, GTOA data showed, and the Spanish Ministry of Transport has released guidelines outlining that interactions between ships and orcas must be reported to the authorities. Although they are known as killer whales, the endangered orcas belong to the dolphin family.
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