Advanced Aquarium Technologies are proud to have been a part of the epic relocation of the Beluga whale pair Little Grey & Little White who were formerly on display at Changfeng Ocean World in Shanghai, China. The duo enjoyed a flight on chartered cargo plane from Shanghai to the world’s first open water sanctuary for Beluga whales in Iceland.

Animal welfare was front of mind for the entire journey and AAT was engaged to manufacture both the cargo tanks and also the customised slings that supported the whales in the tanks.

The tanks themselves were manufactured in the same way as AAT’s FRP exhibit tanks, consisting of welded steel frame with closed cell foam infill panels to create the substructure. The entire tank shell is then wrapped in fibreglass to provide the ozomotic protection to the base substructure. This method of tank construction has been utilised by AAT for close to 20 years to provide a structurally sound tank capable of handling the weight and movement of thousands of litres of water.

Minor details of the design were carefully considered right down to the lifting lug points to ensure that the risk of any potential injury was minimised. In consultation with Sealife’s curatorial team AAT’s  design incorporated skylight roofing and winching points to assist with the loading of the slings into the transport tanks.

The arctic mammals have now arrived safely at their new home at the Sea Life Trust Beluga Whale sanctuary located in a bay on the Icelandic island of Heimaey. The sanctuary is one of the biggest developments in captive marine mammal care and protection in decades and the first of its kind to be created for cetaceans.

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