Incredible moment sea captain fights off killer whales with a pole

Incredible moment sea captain fights off killer whales with a pole

04/01/2021

Incredible moment sea captain fights off killer whales with a pole and screams at them to ‘p**s off’ as they attack his sail boat in the Strait of Gibraltar

  • Video footage captured moment the Serena IV sailing boat was attacked by killer whales, leaving it without a working rudder off the coast of Cape Spartel
  • The sea captain reacted quickly and managed to fight off the orcas with pole 
  • Crew members began throwing items in the water in an attempt to scare them 

This is the incredible moment a sea captain fought off killer whales with a pole and screamed at them to ‘p**s off’ after they attacked his boat.  

Captain Antonio Busse, 40, shouted ‘get off the f***ing boat’ as a pod of orcas surrounded his vessel in the waters of the Gibraltar Strait.

The predators had attacked the Serena IV sailing boat, leaving it without a working rudder which is used for steering, off the coast of Cape Spartel on Saturday evening.


Video has captured the moment a sailing boat was attacked by a group of orcas, leaving the sea captain to react quickly to save his crew.

The Spanish maritime authorities last year warned boats to keep their distance from killer whales but some sailors claim that the animals chase boats passing through the area

Busse, who said there were four killer whales, then used a small pole to hit the side of the boat to try and scare them away whilst screaming ‘mama mia’ and ‘get off the f***ing boat’.

Other crew members began throwing items into the water to get them to leave – but as they shone a light in the water, they could see they were still surrounded by the orcas.

At one point, a large killer whale can be seen swimming underneath the boat – causing the crew to shout out in fear.

In another video, the orcas can be seen circling the boat and swimming next to the boat and breaching the surface. 

At this point, the captain began hitting the water with the pole in attempt to scare the predators away. 


The orcas can be seen circling the boat and swimming next to the boat and breaching the surface (right)

The predators had attacked the Serena IV sailing boat, leaving it without a working rudder which is used for steering, off the coast of Cape Spartel, in the Strait of Gibraltar on Saturday evening

Sergio Rodman, the owner of the vessel, said: ‘We were coming from Italy and had stopped in Gibraltar in order to go to Lanzarote in the south-western Spanish region of Canary Islands’.

He was on watch duty while the three other crew members were sleeping.  

Busse, told Real Press in an exclusive interview that they heard a strange noise and rushed to the top of the ship.  

 It was firstly thought the vessel had hit a container, but they quickly realised that killer whales were playing around the ship instead, trying to hit it.

According to Busse, there were only four killer whales, which approached the boat. They threw items at the orcas in a bid to make them leave them alone but to no avail. 

The killer whales finally managed to break the rudder after they hit it repeatedly.

As a desperate measure, one of the crew lit a flare in order to force them to leave and this strategy worked as the group of orcas finally left them in peace.


As a desperate measure, one of the crew lit a flare in order to force them to leave and this strategy worked as the group of orcas finally left them in peace

Busse said that the situation was scary, adding that in his whole life sailing the seven seas, ‘something like this had never happened before, and I have been in Antarctica and I have never seen something like this.’

Busse added that ‘killer whales are very smart and we have been told that they even steal the tuna from the fishing boats when they are hungry, but this situation of breaking a rudder is new.’

He also said that the killer whales prefer to play around with sailing boats as the fishing boats have their rudders very close to the propellers, something that is different in sailing boats.

Despite having a partially broken rudder, the vessel was able to finally anchor in the port of Tarifa, in southern Spain, where another boat, flying an American flag and called Aniway, had been attacked two days before by a group of killer whales, but they were in a worse condition as they had a water leak on the boat.

Alfredo Lopez, a biologist and coordinator for the Study of Marine Mammals of Galicia, told Real Press: ‘They are not attacks but interactions’ as they do not intend to cause any harm.

He added: ‘It is not normal, but it has been happening on different parts of the coast of Spain in the last year.’

He said: ‘They do not want to do any damage, they have a task, they find boats and try to examine them and those interactions happens, but they do not have the intention of injuring people or attacking them.’

According to the biologist, this group of killer whales, which have not been identified due to a lack of images showing their fins and flippers, might be young individuals because ‘the adults have no time as they have specific roles in the group, taking care of the young, but the young individuals are more idle and they are reckless and are the ones with more contact with humans.’

He also explained that the group of killer whales are commonly seen in the Gibraltar Strait looking for food, but they are already in the area in the early months of the year, as May is the most common month to see them.

They commonly travel in groups and they are usually seen in the Strait and then they go up along the Portuguese coast and Galicia (in north-western Spain), until they arrive on the coast of the Basque Country.  

Last year, after a spate of similar attacks off Spain and Portugal, scientists identified three killer whale culprits.

Last year, after a spate of similar attacks off Spain and Portugal, scientists identified three killer whale culprits – Black Gladis, White Gladis and Grey Gladis

In the space of just two months, the orcas ripped the rudders off fishing vessels and rammed pleasure yachts in more than 20 separate incidents off the Spanish region of Galicia alone.

By studying footage, the investigating experts implicated Black Gladis, White Gladis and Grey Gladis in 61 percent of all the attacks along the Spanish and Portuguese coast.

The colossal beasts were identified in part by the scars across their bodies which are believed to have been caused by their clashes with boats.

Wounds to two of the whales are recent, dated between June and August of last year.

A killer whale breaks through the surface of the water near A Coruña in northern Spain before attacking a yacht last year

Killer whales are known to be curious about the sterns of boats because of their noise and movement, but the researchers say that the recent aggression recorded against vessels is unheard of.

In one incident, a couple from Scotland were subjected to a 45-minute hounding by orcas near Cape Finisterre, Galicia.

Graeme Walker and his wife Moira first noticed the mammals when one of them rammed into their yacht during an ordeal in which a 1.5 sq ft bite was taken out of their rudder.

A few weeks earlier, a 40ft Spanish naval vessel was encircled by a pod of whales before one of them clipped off a section of the ship’s rudder. 

And in July, a sailor suffered a dislocated  shoulder when a delivery yacht entering Cape Trafalgar was so violently rocked by a whale that the man fell onto the deck.

It was shocking incidents such as these which prompted Spanish maritime officials to ban yachts of less than 50ft from a stretch of the Galician coast for a week at the end of September.

Researchers told The Guardian: ‘The trigger for this strange and novel behaviour could have been an aversive incident that the orcas had with a boat, and in which the speed of the boat could have been a critical factor.

‘For the moment, we have no clear evidence of when it happened, nor can we say for sure what kind of boat may have been involved, nor whether the incident was accidental or deliberate.’

The experts said that the killer whales may have learned that they could slow down a boat and that they were now in the habit of toying with others ‘out of curiosity’.

Graeme Walker and his wife Moira were sailing on their yacht with their friend Stephen Robinson when a trio of killer whales targeted them off the coast of Cape Finisterre

Graeme, from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, only noticed the killer whales when one of them rammed his 45ft yacht

The marine biologists added that although the orcas had shaken up crews, they had not yet posed a significant danger.

‘Rough movements of the wheel and sharp movements have upset crews unfamiliar with orcas and their behaviour,’ the experts told the paper.

‘[But] in no instance has anyone been harmed by the direct activity of the orcas – although there has been some risk in some of the situations involving long-lasting or nocturnal activity.’

Killer whales are usually seen off Galicia at this time of year as they hunt tuna from the Gulf of Cadiz and into the Bay of Biscay.

Orcas weigh as much as six tonnes – about three times heavier than a car – and can live up to 80 years. 

The Spanish and Portuguese organisation studying the whales, CEMMA, hopes to reveal its findings in the next two weeks.

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