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Plymouth's National Marine Aquarium

Don’t disturb the sharks!

A Plymouth driller was given a once-in-a-lifetime warning on his latest job: ‘Don’t disturb the sharks’!

D-Drill’s office in Plympton was called in to help create a new viewing area at Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium. 

The company had 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 employed to cut through the wall but, because of the sensitive nature of the creatures above, the decision was taken to use a quiet, vibration-free method of chain-sawing which is widely used in the USA. 

Edward Taylor, the manager of D-Drill’s Plymouth office, said: “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. 

“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’s inside a tank!

 “We were provided with a power pack and new hydraulic chainsaw by ICS that cut down on noise and vibration. 

“The operation was a complete success and proved that it pays to call in a specialist when this type of work is needed.  As it happens our driller, Dave Lawes, used to volunteer at the Aquarium before he joined us as an apprentice, so he knew the place inside out. 

“And I am delighted to say none of our operatives was harmed or eaten by sharks during the operation!”

James Wright from the National Aquarium thanked D-Drill for their attention to detail.

He said: “It’s vital we don’t upset the animals, particularly the sharks, as they can bolt. 

“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.

“D-Drill were extremely professional, fully understood the issue and went out of their way to ensure they completed the job with absolutely no disturbance to any of the sharks and other animals in the tank.”

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