Whale Drags Down Boat With 12 Traditional Hunters on Board in Eastern Indonesia

By SP/Yoseph Kelen on 04:00 pm Aug 16, 2013
Category News

Kupang. Authorities in the eastern Indonesian district of Lembata continued to mount search efforts on Friday after a harpooned orca whale dragged down a boat with 12 traditional hunters on board, officials said.

“Four made it to Mulandoro but the  eight others have yet to be found,” Lamalera village chief Yoseph Dasion said.

Local fishermen, assisted by a local marine police unit, had failed to find any of the eight missing men by late on Thursday, he added.

Traditional whale hunters on the island of Lembata usually hunt sperm whales, locally known as koteklema, but the animals have become scarce in recent years. Orca whales, or seguni, are usually not hunted as they are known to be aggressive and difficult to catch.

“It took place near Tanjung Atadei in Lembata district. We have sent fishing boats to help search for the eight people who had been thrown out of their boat as it was dragged into the water,” he said.

Several whaling boats from Lamalera had seen the orca, he added, but only the Bero Blolong boat chose to pursue it.

Yoseph said that he had asked the district authorities to send motorboats to help the search efforts.

Lembata district chief Eliaser Yentji Sunur, said that he had coordinated with the naval base in Kupang, West Timor and sought boats and personnel to join the rescue attempt.

“Members of the Lembata district Youth Disaster Mitigation Force, have also been sent to Lamalera and hopefully the missing can be found safe and sound,” Eliaser said.

Local residents said that Orca are only pursued by hunters after feeding — usually on dolphins or whale cubs — as they are more vulnerable after having eaten.

Lamalera, on the southern tip of Lembata is one of only two traditional whaling communities on the island. Between them they usually hunt about a dozen sperm whales in a year.

  • patience

    What goes around comes around.

  • Wonderer

    Then what are they? Lung breathing, live born, fish?!?

    • kaylumn

      Orcas are actually Dolphins

      • Roland

        Hmm, I’m confused now.

        I quote:”The killer WHALE (Orcinus orca), also referred to as the orca whale or orca, and less commonly as the blackfish, is a toothed WHALE belonging to the oceanic DOLPHIN family.

        (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Killer_whale)

      • Roland

        PS: Here’s another link which again specifies that orcas are actually dolphins.

        What is here particular interesting is that it states that orcas never attack humans outside of captivity…


        • Paul Jakma

          Yes, orcas are dolphins. Dolphins are whales. So Orcas are BOTH dolphins and whales at the same.

      • Wonderer

        True. And Dolphins are whales, especially if longer than 3m – which I suppose any Orca dragging down a 12 people whaler boat must have exceeded…:
        “Whale, any of the larger species of aquatic mammals belonging to the order Cetacea. The term whale can be used in reference to any cetacean, including porpoises and dolphins, but in general it is applied to those more than 3 metres (10 feet) long.” Encyclopædia Britannica

        They are often confused with sharks though…and THAT is wrong.

  • Forgetyourself

    Very sad – not for the dead fishermen though – but for the inevitable backlash; i guess the locals will now go out and try to kill all orca whales as revenge.
    The same situation happened in south Sumatra with the elephants. Locals slaughtered them. So sad

  • Troublemaker

    Orca’s are classified as dolphins, not whales…

  • Rustynails

    “No need at ALL”. Well except the need to feed and cloth their families oh wait they can just pop down to the local unemployment office….not. You took time to write here, did you take time to write to the Japanese Embassy with their factory ships plundering the oceans of the Pacific.

  • bang2tang
  • Monika Koestler

    Well isn’t that just a shame? Good for the whale