Three sailors rescued after the catamaran Tion was attacked by sharks in the Coral Sea, southeast of Cairns, Queensland
- AMSA coordinated the rescue of the sailors
- The sailors will arrive in Brisbane on Thursday
Three foreign sailors have been rescued after several terrifying encounters with sharks destroyed their catamaran off the east coast of Australia.
Russian adventurers Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin and Frenchman Vincent Beaujeu were sailing from Vanuatu to Cairns on their 9m long inflatable catamaran Tion when several shark attacks damaged both hulls.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority coordinated the rescue in the Coral Sea, southeast of Cairns, after responding to a radio distress beacon transmitted by the trio’s vessel around 1.30am on Wednesday.
AMSA requested assistance from the Panamanian-flagged freighter Dugong Ace and deployed the Cairns-based Challenger rescue plane to the scene, 835 km away.
The rescue vessel and plane reached the stricken sailors three hours later.
Dramatic photos and footage released by AMSA show the catamaran began to sink during the rescue mission.
Sailors Evgeny Kovalevsky, Vincent Beaujeu and Stanislav Berezkin were heading for Cairns when disaster struck
The sailors were successfully rescued and are expected to return to dry land in Brisbane on Thursday morning.
The trio are believed to be in good health.
“They’re very lucky…it’s rare to have a ship this close in such a remote location,” said Joseph Keller, director of AMSA’s in-service response center.
“This operation shows once again that maritime rescue efforts transcend geopolitics and international borders.
He added that the stern of the catamaran had been torn apart by sharks.
“A large part of the ship, the right rear part, was completely removed and destroyed,” Zeller said.
“The Dugong Ace took the sailors via a boarding ladder, which would have been a tricky situation in itself, climbing up the side of the ship.”
Mr Kovalevsky and fellow adventurer Beryozkin were two-thirds into a three-year trip retracing the first Russian expedition around the world of the 19th century.
The 9-inch inflatable catamaran (pictured) began to gain momentum during salvage operations
The trio were rescued from their damaged ship 835km from their next destination, Cairns.
The duo and French crew member Mr Beaujeu left Vanuatu a week ago and hoped to arrive in Cairns next Monday.
The trio was fully aware that their upcoming trip across the Pacific would not go smoothly.
“We left Vanuatu, the island of Efate, where we had been moored for a week, made repairs. We are going to Cairns, Australia,” Kovalevsky told the Russian Geographical Society last week.
“The waves can reach three meters; the breeze can probably reach 20 knots. Sometimes it will address the 25.’
The sailors had spent ten days in Vanuatu while repairs were carried out on their catamaran, including a fractured hull and previous damage from cigar sharks.
“We were amazed at how easy it turned out. We start the engine, we get out of the lagoon and we will set sail at the exit. See you in Australia,” Mr. Kovalevsky added.
It is currently unknown when or if the sailors will continue their journey.
Wednesday’s rescue reminds sailors that they should always carry an emergency beacon when on the water and ensure it is registered with AMSA.
The catamaran (pictured) has been damaged by several sharks in recent weeks
The Dugong Ace freighter (left) has rescued sailors and is on its way to Brisbane