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Orcas Cause Yacht Sinkings: Concerns Rise in Spain-Morocco Waters

Thursday, November 9, 2023 • Tamil Comments
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A few days ago, there were reports that late last month, a 9-meter-long yacht named Grazie Mamma II ran into trouble off the coast between Morocco and Spain as a pod of orcas attacked its steering fin for about 45 minutes.

Fortunately, the crew came off without a scratch, with the yacht eventually sinking after being taken to a berth in port. It's not the first time orcas have come into or caused collisions, damaged, and even sunk boats over the last three years.

Most incidents have been attributed to a particular pod of orcas that roam the Strait of Gibraltar. Sailors tried various strange ways in which they could fend off these creatures from damaging their vessels, as reported by the Cruising Association (CA), which gathers reports on such incidents.

While continuous research and monitoring are done, the CA strongly advises against some practices listed as likely to cause disturbance or physical harm to marine life. One of the strategies proposed is for the boat to stop moving, switch off its engine, and exploit natural wind by lowering its sails. Another method is discharging loud noise or spreading sand behind the boat to disrupt the echolocation of the orcas.

However, the efforts they put in yielded diverse results, and scientific research has showcased ambiguous outcomes. While some boaters reported that they were successful with these efforts, most others found that the orcas continued their interactions despite them.

The experts suggest that, in case of the above damages caused by an orca, call the authorities and avoid water entry with caution. Orcas rarely pose a direct threat to humans unless their behaviour takes on a curious quality that causes boat accidents, whale researcher Hanne Strager said in a previous interview with Insider.

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