In an unusual and dramatic incident, a pod of orcas attacked and sank a yacht from Gdynia, Poland, near the coast of Gibraltar. The yacht, named Grazie Mamma, was subjected to a 45-minute onslaught by the marine mammals, which targeted the vessel’s rudder fin, causing significant damage and ultimately leading to a leak that sank the ship. This prompted an urgent rescue operation.
The owner of the yacht, Lech Lewandowski, spoke to polsatnews.pl about the harrowing experience, noting the intensity and aggression of the attack that the vessel’s components could not withstand. Incidents of orcas attacking yachts and small ships have been known along the coasts of Spain and Portugal, but this particular encounter in the Strait of Gibraltar led to the loss of the Polish yacht despite efforts by the Maritime Search and Rescue Service, port tugboats, and the Moroccan navy.
The entire crew was safely evacuated to the coast of Spain. Lewandowski expressed uncertainty about the increasing number of orca attacks in the vicinity of Gibraltar and shared an anecdote about another of his company’s boats that had a less severe encounter with an orca.
The yacht was designed to withstand all conditions, classified under category “A,” but this incident proved that it was not prepared for such an aggressive encounter. The owner emphasized that while the yacht’s construction was robust, the ferocity of the attack was too much for it to handle.
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The crew was well-trained for emergency situations, with detailed procedures for all possible scenarios, from basic to evacuation steps. The yacht was equipped with life rafts and pneumatic vests, and the crew knew exactly what to do in case of danger. When the situation became serious, and a leak occurred, six people were evacuated by a rescue boat.
Despite the loss, the company, Morskie Mile, has announced its intention to rebuild the yacht, sharing a heartfelt message on social media about the vessel’s importance to them and their love for the sea, which remains unshaken by this event.
This incident highlights the unpredictable nature of the sea and the potential dangers that even the most well-prepared sailors can face. It also raises questions about the changing behaviors of marine wildlife and the necessary precautions seafarers must take when navigating waters known for such encounters.
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