Spain banned rowing within 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the northwest coast after the sailboat was damaged by an orca hit
Barcelona, Spain-Spain temporarily banned boating within 1
The Spanish Ministry of Transport began a week-long embargo on sailing vessels under 15 meters (49 feet) in length on Tuesday. It said the area covered by the ban is intended to protect ships and marine mammals and can be expanded to “follow the migration route of whales.”
Ships can leave the port and enter the high seas between Cape Prioriño Grande and Estaca de Bares la Punta, but they must not stay near the northwestern coast of the country.
Bruno Díaz, a biologist at the local Bottlenose Dolphin Research Institute, said that the performance of orcas may be too rough.
He said that orcas, like other cetaceans such as dolphins, also like to swim beside the boat. It is rare to hit the hull of a ship, but he thinks it may be caused by the “immature juvenile” orca becoming noisy.
“We will never care about that animal, but based on experience, we think there is absolutely no (threatening their behavior). We are not their natural prey,” Diaz told the Associated Press by phone on Wednesday. “They have fun. Maybe these orcas are fun and cause damage.”
Diaz said that because of their size, the waves they produce and the less pollution they produce compared to fishing boats, they are especially attracted to sailboats. The waters of the Iberian Peninsula extending to the Atlantic Ocean are full of tuna for hunting and migration.
Spanish television broadcasted footage of a group of orca sailors shooting very close to the ship. So far, no casualties have been reported.
Even so, the close encounter still frightened some sailors and hurt their wallets because they needed repairs.
British sailor Mark Smith told TVE that he was “a bit” frightened, “because they are so big, we can’t stop them” crashing into his ship.