Multiple Shark Attacks on Yacht off Australian Coast Lead to Sailors Abandoning Damaged Vessel

Russian vessel with logo.png © Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Russian vessel with logo.png © Australian Maritime Safety Authority
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Three individuals were successfully saved from a catamaran in distress along Australia’s northeastern shoreline following multiple shark attacks that inflicted damage to their vessel.

On Wednesday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) reported that the catamaran, situated in the Coral Sea near Cairns, suffered damage to both of its hulls as a result of several shark attacks.

Satellite imagery and a video accessible through the AMSA website revealed a significant portion of the yacht’s stern being torn apart.

“The vessel departed from Vanuatu and was bound for Cairns (Australia) when contact was established,” Amsa said in a statement.

The yacht, known as the Tion, was situated approximately 835 kilometres (519 miles) southeast of Cairns in the Coral Sea when emergency response teams were mobilized around 1:30 AM on Wednesday.

This nine-meter inflatable catamaran, registered in Russia, was reportedly part of a global expedition, a fact confirmed by the Russian Geographic Society, as reported by ABC News.

In their official statement, AMSA mentioned that they enlisted the assistance of a Panama-flagged vehicle carrier named the Dugong Ace and dispatched the Challenger Rescue Aircraft from Cairns to the scene, successfully executing the rescue operation.

The three passengers, consisting of two Russians identified as Evgeny Kovalevsky and Stanislav Beryozkin, along with French citizen Vincent Thomas Garate Etienne, are expected to arrive in Brisbane on Thursday.

The spokesperson for the Russian Geographic Society explained that their expedition was in commemoration of two significant milestones: the 250th anniversary of the birth of explorer Adam Johann von Kruzenstern and the bicentennial celebration of the discovery of Antarctica by Russian explorers.

This remarkable journey commenced from St Petersburg on July 1, 2021, with the ambitious goal of setting a record for the longest cruising distance covered on a frame-inflatable sailing trimaran, as reported by local sources.

However, the sailors had previously been rescued from the trimaran, named the Russian Ocean Way, off the coast of Chile in March. The Tion-Russian Ocean Way constitutes the second vessel of the expedition, having been launched in April.

Remarkably, the vessel also encountered shark-related damage in Tahiti in June.

Joseph Zeller, an Amsa responder, was quoted as saying by ABC News that “the sailors were very lucky because they had an emergency distress beacon… which enabled us to tell the most appropriate and fastest response to rescue them”.

“They were very well prepared, they were calm, but of course, they were elated to be rescued.”


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