Stainless Steel manufacturer Seascape Stainless Steel Services – a Southern Africa Stainless Steel Development Association (Sassda) member – has developed a stainless steel shark cage, the Shark Rover, for a film production company, allowing for the shooting of a Discovery Channel documentary on great white sharks in local waters.
“This is the second self-propelled shark cage manufactured in the world,” says Seascape business development manager James Wreyford.
Seascape was commissioned to construct the two-person cage in June and it was specifically designed to film great white sharks. It weighs about 90 kg, is 1.3 m in diameter and 3.3 m long and is manufactured from marine grade 316 stainless steel tubing and plate. The design for the shark cage was done by a Britain-based company Marine Imaging Technologies. “We were the only company in South Africa who could manufacture the shark cage according to their specifications and in lightning-fast time,” says Seascape technical manager Brent Machelm.
The stainless steel tubing of the cage has a fair amount of space between it to accommodate the cameras, which allows for a 360° view for undisturbed footage under water. The cage’s rudders and tillers enable it to move forward, sideways and in an upward and downward motion. Polyvinylchloride tubes were added to act as buoyancy members.
The submarine-shaped shark cage is considered unique, owing to the thrusters fitted to it that allow it to move under water.
“When the team arrived from America, we still had to do a few modifications, but our experienced fitter, Igsaan Hendricks, was up to the task,” adds Machelm.
The thrusters were imported from the US and provisions have been made to add outboard motors to the sides if the need arises. He notes that, aside from the thrusters and outboard motors, also imported from the US, Seascape locally manufactured and sourced everything else.
It took the company a month to manu- facture the shark cage and, when it was near completion, the technical staff and divers from full-service television production com- pany Gurney Productions arrived to fit its thrusters and all electrical wiring and safety devices to get it ready for testing.
He says: “We were unfortunately not so lucky to see it through the testing phase but the staff from Gurney Productions assured us the testing went well and the dive with the shark cage was a major success. It’s currently being exported to Mexico, we believe for another documentary.”
The Seascape production team consists of the technical manager, operators, welder and polishers. “The experience, commitment and dedication of our team is what made this project a huge success,” concludes Machelm.