Orcas Sink Yacht in Halloween Attack

They 'hit the steering fin for 45 minutes, causing major damage and leakage'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2023 6:55 PM CST
Orcas Sink Yacht in Halloween Attack
In a image from video provided by The Ocean Race, an orca moves along a rudder of the Team JAJO entry in The Ocean Race on Thursday, June 22, 2023, as the boat approaches the Strait of Gibraltar.   (The Ocean Race via AP)

It could be the plot of a horror movie. A group of orcas attacked and sank a yacht in an attack that lasted for almost an hour on Halloween, a tour company says. In a post on Facebook, a Polish tour company said the orcas "hit the steering fin for 45 minutes, causing major damage and leakage." The company, Morskie Mile, said that despite assistance from rescuers including the Moroccan navy, the yacht sank near the entrance to the Moroccan post of Tangier-Med, CBS News reports. The captain and crew were rescued safely.

Orcas in the Gibraltar area have been attacking the rudders of smaller boats for years, and the frequency of attacks started to rise sharply last year, experts say. This is the fourth sinking they have caused in the last two years, LiveScience reports. Experts can't readily explain the behavior. Orcas learn from each other, and one biologist believe a female orca injured by a boat may have taught others to target vessels. Others suspect the attacks may simply be a "fad" among orcas, or, since rudders resemble fins, older orcas are using the boats to teach their children how to hunt, Global News reports. Most believe that the marine mammals aren't deliberately trying to harm humans. (More orca stories.)

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