Gibraltar orca attack not deliberate or act of revenge

May 14, 2024

On Sunday, 12 May, the 15-metre yacht “Alboran Cognac” sank in the southern entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar after being damaged by orcas. The crew were safely rescued. This is the latest in a series of incidents in recent years where individuals from this particularly endangered population of orcas have damaged or lost vessels.  

While OceanCare regrets the distress caused to the two crew members who had to be rescued, it reiterates its call for tolerance towards these orcas. 

Mark Simmonds, OceanCare’s Director of Science, comments:  

“We do not believe that the orcas’ behaviour is any form of revenge or a deliberate attack on people and it is important that it is not characterised in the media as such. These intelligent and highly social animals have learned that small boats can be manipulated and are obviously getting some form of gratification from this. Most probably this is play behaviour or a way to show off to each other. We know that the authorities in the countries in which this population occurs are working hard to develop benign and appropriate strategies to address this problem.” 

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