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Three saved off coast of Australia after boat attacked by sharks

The three were on an around-the-world sailing expedition when the sharks attacked their catamaran severely damaging the hulls.

Three people on an around-the-world sailing expedition have been rescued from their catamaran after it was attacked by sharks on their voyage from Vanuatu to Cairns.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) received an emergency distress beacon at 1.30am on Wednesday, from the Russian-registered nine-metre inflatable catamaran Tion.

It is understood the vessel left Vanuatu on August 28 as part of a Russian Ocean Way global circumnavigation when things went downhill, and the hulls of the boat were damaged by several sharks.

A photo of Evgeny Kovalevsky (right), Stanislav Berezkin (middle) and Vincent Beaujeu (left) leaving Efate Island, Vanuatu.
Evgeny Kovalevsky (right), Stanislav Berezkin (middle) and Vincent Beaujeu (left) were on their two week journey to Cairns from Vanuatu when sharks damaged their boat. Source: Facebook (Facebook)

Help was immediately requested by AMSA, with a Cairns-based Challenger Rescue Aircraft as well as the Dugong Ace cargo ship rushing to the scene 835km southeast of Cairns in the Coral Sea.

Two French and one Russian citizen rescued

The Dugong Ace managed to rescue all three men on board. French citizen, Vincent Beaujeu, had temporarily joined the two Russian citizens, Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Berezkin, on their journey and is understood to have been on board at the time. The travellers will be arriving in Brisbane on Thursday morning.

A photo of three men on the Tion boat.
The two Russian men were competing a round-the-world expedition when the Tion boat was attacked by shark southeast of Cairns in the Coral Sea, with a French man also on board. Source: Facebook (Facebook)

The importance of a distress beacon

Following the scary incident, AMSA have stressed the importance of always carrying a distress beacon, known as an EPIRB, which the Russian boat set off to seek help. The device alerts search and rescue services if you get into trouble.

A closer photo of the 9-meter inflatable catamaran.
All three men were rescued from the shark-damaged boat. Source: AMSA (AMSA)

"GPS-equipped EPIRBs and personal locater beacons (PLBs) can save your life in an emergency," they said in a statement. "Make sure your distress beacon is properly registered with AMSA."

A report from the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience revealed an average of 2,000 Aussies are rescued from seas, bushland, mountains, and deserts each year. However in 2022 only 323 rescues were initiated by the life-saving technology device.

Earlier this year three young fisherman on the coast of Bowen, Queensland, had drifted over 28 miles away from the shore. They were rescued thanks to having an EPIRB on board.

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