A Mitsui OSK Line (MOL) pure car/truck carrier has plucked three desperate sailors from a shark-ravaged sailing boat off the coast of Australia.

The 6,706-ceu Dugong Ace (built 2019) picked up the three, two Russians and a French citizen, from a catamaran 835km Southeast of Cairns in the Coral Sea.

Both hulls of the nine-metre inflatable catamaran Tion had been damaged following “several shark attacks”, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which coordinated the rescue.

AMSA said it responded to a Russian-registered emergency position-indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) early on Wednesday morning.

The damaged vessel had originally departed from Vanuatu and was bound for Cairns when contact was established, the maritime regulator said.

AMSA requested the assistance of the Panama-flagged vehicle carrier Dugong Ace and tasked a Cairns-based challenger rescue aircraft to the scene.

“The Dugong Ace successfully conducted the rescue and collected three people and they are due to arrive in Brisbane on Thursday morning,” AMSA added.