Pod of Orcas Attack and Disable Boat Off Portuguese Coast

A rise reports of “attacks” by orcas against boats in Western European countries since 2020 has perplexed scientists, NPR reported in August.

One such encounter was captured on camera by Matt Johnston in October, 2021.

According to Johnston, a pod of orcas, also known as killer whales, circled and rammed into his boat near Sines, Portugal, breaking off pieces of the vessel.

Johnston told Storyful that “the larger pair in the orca pod would batter the boat with their heads, turning it 90 degrees, while the younger pair would attack the rudder.”

After calling the maritime police to scare the orcas off, Johnston said he had to have his disabled boat towed into the nearest port.

Several similar incidents have been reported in Portugal, including one encounter in November, 2022, that led to a boat sinking near Viana do Castle, according to local maritime officials. Credit: Matt Johnston via Storyful

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