Sailors are now blasting heavy thrash metal music out at sea in an effort to ward off deadly orca attacks. The apex predators have been attacking boats for years, particularly in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar and other areas surrounding the Iberian Peninsula. The exact reason behind the relentless attacks remains unclear, but some marine biologists believe it may be due to a notorious orca named White Gladis teaching members of her highly intelligent species how to take revenge after being involved in a collision with a vessel.
German sailor Florian Rutsch attempted the metal music method after reading about it on sailors’ forums. He came across a shared Spotify playlist called Metal for Orcas, specially curated by other sailors, and decided to try it out on a pod of killer whales surrounding his boat. Unfortunately, the killer whales succeeded in their attack, damaging the boat’s rudders and disabling the steering function, requiring the boat to be towed back to shore by Spanish authorities.
The number of orca attacks on boats off the coast of Portugal and Spain has been worryingly rising, with 207 interactions in 2022, up from 197 in 2021 and 52 in 2020. These attacks range from orcas simply approaching boats to actively interfering with them, with incidents such as a tourist boat being rammed for an hour and a 50ft yacht being attacked by four killer whales.