May 18, 2024

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Killer whales attack sailboats during an international race: “a dangerous moment”

Killer whales attack sailboats during an international race: “a dangerous moment”

Race officials said two sailing teams competing in a race around the world had a frightening encounter with a group of orcas on Thursday afternoon.

The two teams compete as part of The Ocean Race, which is An international competition that also collects climate data. The race spans seven distances around the world, but the two boats that have faced killer whales are taking part in a smaller, three-legged version of the competition, called Ocean Race VO65 Sprint.

It was one boat crew before JAJO Team, group from Amsterdam. The other includes Mirpuri Trifork Racing, a team from Portugal. The boats were traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to the west of Gibraltar when the encounter occurred at around 2:50 local time, according to the organization. he said in a press release.

Orca interacting with a boat in The Ocean Race.

Bernd Schuel / Team JAJO / Ocean Race

Jelmar van Beek, JAJO team leader, stated that there were several orcas involved. Both teams said there was no damage to the boats and reported no injuries, but they said orcas pushed into the boat and bit the rudder. In one instance, the boat was rammed by an orca.

“20 minutes ago we got hit by some orcas,” JAJO team leader Jelmer van Beek said in a press release. “Three orcas came straight at us and started beating the rudders. Great to see the orcas, beautiful animals, but also a dangerous moment for us as a team. We lowered the sails and slowed the boat as quickly as possible and happily ever after. They went a few attacks… This was a frightening moment.”

Orca encounter in Gibraltar by TEAM JAJO | Ocean Race by
Ocean Race on

The incident comes amid reports of apparently coordinated attacks on boats by orcas. Many of these incidents have been reported throughout Gibraltar, which borders Spain. Incidents in which orcas worked individually or in a pod to ram the boat’s hull or rudders It has tripled in the past two yearsthe researchers said, but it is not clear why. Between July and November 2020, there were 52 such interactions recorded by GTOA, a group that studies orcas in the Gibraltar region. In 2022, there will be 207 such interactions. And The Ocean Race said that in at least three cases, the damage resulted in sinking.

A boat captain attacked twice by orcas, once in 2020 and once in 2022, For Newsweek that whales She seems to have a plan.

“The first time, we heard them communicating under the boat,” he told NEWSWEEK. “This time, they were quiet, and it didn’t take them long to destroy both ledges… They seemed to know exactly what they were doing. They didn’t touch anything else.”

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