Using the ICS 880F4 Hydraulic Diamond Chainsaw workmen were given a once-in-a-lifetime warning on their latest job: "Don't disturb the sharks!" EC Hopkins supplied the innovative diamond cutting equipment to carry out sensitive works at Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium to help create a viewing area.
Part of the job was to cut out an eight-metre block wall beneath a tank containing sand tiger sharks, five nurse sharks and ten southern stingrays. In ordinary circumstances, drills or powerful concrete breakers would have been used to bash through the wall.
However, because of the sensitive nature of the animals swimming above, the decision was made to use a quiet, vibration-free method of chain-sawing, which is widely used in the United States.
James Wright, of the National Marine Aquarium, said the fearsome creatures in the tank would have become very distressed by loud drilling. "It's vital we don't upset the animals, particularly the sharks, as they can bolt," he said. "They normally swim quite slowly and appear quite sluggish but when they go, they certainly move quickly and when doing this they could collide with each other or objects in the exhibit which could cause injury. Our highest priority is the standard of care that animals at the aquarium receive, which is always an important consideration for us."
"We would have usually used a drill or breaker to remove the wall but, because we had been asked not to disturb the sharks and other animals in the tank, we looked for the best possible method," he said.
"Sharks, we were told, could become very spooked by loud noise, and particularly by vibration, so our priority was to carry out the work without distressing them. Nobody wants to upset a shark – even if it is inside a tank!"