A SAILOR feared for his life after a horrific 45-minute rampage by a pod of killer whales ripped off the rudder of his yacht.
Phep Philouceros, 70, was sailing off the coast of Cape Vincent in Portugal when the five orcas began circling his 30-foot vessel.
During the drive to Royan, he was forced to send out a Mayday distress alert..
But Phep managed to capture the moment when two of the beasts ripped off large sections of his yacht, the Oxygene.
He said the two killer whales did an easy job with the rudder and shredded it in just “a minute.”
The sailor said he also heard the hull crackle – but luckily he didn’t see any water entering.
The shocking attack lasted 45 minutes – and the orcas continued to pursue the yacht while it was towed by a rescue ship.
Phep, who has been sailing the seas for 55 years, said he has never seen anything like it.
He said, “I think there were juvenile orcas. They were about six or seven meters long.”
“They were neither adults nor babies.
“The attack wasn’t too violent. The boat moved, turned, but did not capsize.”
“If the orcas really wanted to sink the boat, they could easily have done so. I don’t think it was her intention.”
Phep’s boat is now safely ashore in Sagres awaiting repairs.
Orcas have “deliberately” overrun and crashed into ships in a campaign of terror believed to be led by a female orca named White Gladis.
Supposedly she leads a witch hunt against boats and teaches her young apprentices how to attack and sink them.
Scientists worry that a “critical moment of agony” like a collision may have triggered her aggression and speculate that she may now spur other orca to target ships.
These attacks, which range from the mere approach of orcas to actively tampering with boats, are said to have started around the Strait of Gibraltar in 2020.
Cape Vincent is just off the coast of Gibraltar’s waters.
In a study published in the journal marine mammal science In June last year, these orca attacks were found to be aimed directly at sailboats.
It was found that the whales all followed the pattern of approaching from the stern of the ship and hitting the rudder.
In May, seafarers around Gibraltar were warned about the attacks – there was no sign they were stopping.
Known for being social creatures, orcas can easily learn from each other – including tactics for taking down sailors.
Other scientists have suggested that the attacks could be due to the highly intelligent orcas becoming territorial or just wanting to play.