Orcas are large dolphins but there have been reports of Orca whales Attacking boats. Is this true or only a legend? well, that is what this article is set to answer!
Researchers have been perplexed for a span of four years and have seen numerous cases, as they strive to comprehend the underlying reasons behind the persistent phenomenon of orcas.
They are also referred to as killer whales, engaging in boat collisions, resulting in the sinking of several vessels, in the vicinity of the Iberian Peninsula.
The origins of these interactions pose a significant enigma, as similar to dolphins, the occurrences may arise from the orcas’ inquisitive and playful conduct, such as engaging in boat races.
How Do I Describe the Orca Whales Attacking Boats?
Despite being commonly referred to as killer whales, orcas are, in fact, the biggest species within the dolphin family.
The taxonomic classification of this group of marine mammals encompasses cetaceans, which comprise whales, dolphins, and porpoises.
The Iberian orca is considered a distinct subpopulation within the broader Atlantic orca population. The orcas under consideration originate from the Strait of Gibraltar and the Gulf of Cádiz.
The size of Iberian orcas is relatively smaller, ranging from 16 to 21 feet, in comparison to Atlantic orcas, who exhibit a larger size of about 30 feet.
In general, orcas exhibit notable swiftness, with the ability to achieve speeds of up to 27.6 miles per hour. In contrast, a sailboat with 39 feet in length is capable of achieving an approximate speed of 9.2 miles per hour.
Read also: What Do Marine Fish Eat?
When Have Orca Whales Attacking Boats Occurred?
The last occurrence was on June 19th, wherein an orca deliberately collided with a vessel weighing 7 tons on many occasions near the Shetland Islands in Scotland.
Killer whales possess the ability to cover extensive distances, thus rendering it within the realm of possibility for an animal to traverse such a considerable distance.
Indeed, the marine mammals in question are commonly referred to as killer whales. Indeed, the primary ecological role of these organisms entails functioning as apex predators within marine ecosystems.
However, it is important to note that, under typical circumstances, the presence of these creatures poses no discernible risk to individuals using a vessel.
The majority of the encounters have primarily encompassed sailboats, however, fishing boats, semi-rigid boats, and motorboats have also been affected.
Similar to dolphins, orcas have been observed swiftly swimming past vessels. There have been observations of individuals colliding with the perimeters of watercraft.
Nevertheless, the majority of exchanges typically entail the utilization of the rudder.
Three vessels were submerged as a result of orca activity, resulting in the impairment of their rudders and subsequent water ingress inside the boats.
Where Have Orca Whales Attacking Boats Occurred?
Since the year 2020, a total of 350 encounters of orca whales attacking boats have been recorded specifically within the geographical region of the Iberian Peninsula.
The majority of these incidents have occurred in the vicinity of the Strait of Gibraltar, although there is evidence suggesting that the mischievous or defensive behaviour of orcas may be extending further northward.
In the month of June, an incident was officially recorded to have occurred in the Shetland Islands, which are located in Scotland.
These encounters can be classified as occurrences in which killer whales respond to the proximity of incoming vessels, including:
- The phenomenon of engaging with others in a manner that does not involve direct physical contact.
- Limited physical contact without causing harm.
- Contact that results in significant harm capable of impeding the vessel’s navigational capabilities.
Read also: Finding Nemo Shark
Tip-Off: Why Do Orca Whales Attacking Boats Migrate?
The migratory patterns of orcas are contingent upon the geographical distribution of their primary dietary staple, the bluefin tuna.
According to the paper, the migratory patterns of tuna exhibit a high degree of dynamism, making it challenging to accurately predict the specific locations where encounters will occur.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Atlantic bluefin tuna, belonging to the tuna family, exhibit the highest size among its counterparts.
These remarkable creatures may attain a length of up to 13 feet and weigh as much as 2,000 pounds.
The species in question has a notable migratory behaviour, characterized by the ability to traverse vast distances spanning hundreds of miles over an entire ocean. Thanks for reading!