A boat of orcas sinks in the Strait of Gibraltar.

An unknown number of orcas have drowned after colliding with a yacht in Moroccan waters in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain's maritime rescue service said Monday, the latest attack in what has become a trend over the past four years. Is.

The vessel Albarn Cognac, which was 15 meters (49 feet) long and had two people on board, struck the highly social apex predators, known as killer whales, at 9 a.m. local time (0700 GMT) on Sunday, the service said. Also called, encountered.

The passengers said that the hull and rudder were being hit suddenly before the water entered the ship. After alerting rescue services, a nearby oil tanker took them aboard and took them to Gibraltar.

The boat was abandoned and eventually sank.

The incident is the latest example of repeated orca strandings around the Strait of Gibraltar, which separates Europe from Africa and the Atlantic coast of Portugal and northwestern Spain.

Experts believe that a subpopulation of about 15 of them has been named “Gladys”.

According to research group GTOA, which tracks populations of the Iberian orca subspecies, there have been about 700 interactions since orca attacks on ships were first reported in the region in May 2020.

Researchers are unsure of the reasons for this behavior, with leading theories being that it is a playful display of mammalian curiosity, a social phenomenon or deliberate targeting of their favorite prey, the local bluefin. Tuna's competitors understand.

Although known as killer whales, endangered orcas are part of the dolphin family. They can measure up to eight meters and weigh six tonnes as adults.

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