Killer Whale Targets Sea Vessel In The Ocean

( – More than 500 interactions have been reported in the Strait of Gibraltar, the eight-mile corridor dividing Spain and Morocco, in the last three years between ocean vessels and orcas. The ocean mammals, also known as killer whales, have sunk three ships since 2020 in that channel. A new report indicated the inexplicable encounters have expanded to northern European waters.

On Wednesday, June 21, The Guardian reported that a killer whale repeatedly rammed a boat in the North Sea off the shore of Shetland, a Scottish archipelago on the United Kingdom’s northernmost point next to Norway. Retired Dutch physicist Dr. Wim Rutten was sailing solo, fishing for mackerel in his seven-ton yacht, when the whale suddenly appeared out of nowhere and struck the vessel’s stern.

Rutten told the Guardian that he had heard about the incidents in the Strait of Gibraltar and muttered a curse word as the killer whale rammed his boat, repeatedly sending “soft shocks” throughout its aluminum hull.

Rutten recounted that hearing the “very loud breathing of the animal” frightened him the most about the incident. He reported that the killer whale trailed behind his boat for a while, appearing to be “looking for the keel.” The orca may have “just wanted to play or look me in the eyes,” he mused. He also said it may have just wanted to “get rid of [his] fishing line.”

With any luck, these incidents aren’t a preview of coming attractions as memorialized by the 1977 thriller film Orca. Directed by Michael Anderson and starring Richard Harris, the movie depicts the fictional ordeal of a killer whale tracking down and exacting its revenge on a boat captain for killing its pregnant mate and unborn calf.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that killer whales are the “ocean’s top predator.” Full-grown adults can weigh as much as 11 tons, grow to 32 feet, and live between 30 to 90 years. The creatures, which are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, can be found in American waters from southern Alaska to central California.

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