A sailboat sinks in the Strait of Gibraltar after being hit by orcas

A sailboat sank this past Sunday in the Strait of Gibraltar after receiving blows to the hull from some orcas, Maritime Rescue sources have reported.

Oliver Thansan
Oliver Thansan
13 May 2024 Monday 05:14
7 Reads
A sailboat sinks in the Strait of Gibraltar after being hit by orcas

A sailboat sank this past Sunday in the Strait of Gibraltar after receiving blows to the hull from some orcas, Maritime Rescue sources have reported. Her two crew members, of Spanish nationality, were rescued by an oil tanker, which took them to Gibraltar.

This new episode of damage to boats in the Strait due to hits by killer whales, one of the first known this year, occurred around 9 a.m. last Sunday. At that time, the crew members of the Alboran Cognac sailboat, 15 meters long and flying the Spanish flag, asked for help from Salvamento Marítimo because they had felt blows on the hull of orcas 14 miles from Cape Spartel.

According to what the crew of the sailboat reported to the entity in charge of the rescues, the sailboat already had damage to the rudder and had a leak, which ended up causing the yacht to sink hours later.

From the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center in Tarifa (CCS Tarifa) they were asked to put on their life jackets, turn on the AIS (Automatic Identification System) and have the radio beacons ready for their location. Morocco was immediately alerted, as the sailboat was in Moroccan waters, and informed of the urgency of the evacuation.

The Helimer 223 helicopter was also mobilized from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Center and permission was requested from Morocco to intervene. In addition, Salvamento Marítimo asked the oil tanker Lascaux, which was sailing nearby, to go to the place where the sailboat was to provide assistance.

Morocco assumed the coordination of the rescue and, in contact with the oil tanker, determined that the intervention of the helicopter was not necessary. Shortly after 10 in the morning, the Tarifa Coordination Center received confirmation that the tanker had the two crew members on board.

The sailboat was left adrift and subsequently sank, according to Morocco. The two crew members were taken to Gibraltar, where they were disembarked at around 10:30 p.m. yesterday.

Killer whale attacks on sailboats are frequently occurring on the Spanish Mediterranean coast and also in Galician waters of the Atlantic, but the worst episodes are being recorded in the strait area, where a pod usually interacts with the boats that ply the waters.

Last April, the blows of that pod already sank another sailboat and the incidents were constant last summer, when the crew of a sailboat even shot at the cetaceans with the intention of scaring them away, in an action that raised a lot of interest. controversy.