Belugas Fly in Next Week

Vala Hafstað


On April 16, Keflavík International Airport is expecting two unusually heavy travelers, sure to attract a lot of attention: two beluga whales, flying in from Shanghai, China. The belugas, called Litla-Hvít and Litla-Grá (Little White and Little Gray) will make Klettsvík cove in Vestmannaeyjar islands their future home.

The belugas move here from a marine animal park in Shanghai. Tourists will be able to observe them in their new home, which is a pen in the cove. Their arrival has been well prepared. Up to 40 people have worked on creating a whale, fish and natural history museum in Vestmannaeyjar, scheduled to open this summer.

Transporting the two passengers requires considerable preparation.
“We receive them as soon as they land and will be ready with two trucks that have been modified quite a bit to facilitate the transport from Keflavík to Vestmannaeyjar,” Sigurjón Ingi Sigurðsson, project manager at TVG-Zimsen, tells Morgunblaðið.

The 13.6-m long (12 ft) trucks have been reinforced to be able to support the weight of the tanks in which the belugas come. The tanks will be securely fastened. “Airflow has been increased to ensure an adequate oxygen supply for them.” He notes that the trucks will serve as quarantine, with very limited access.

A camera system will stream live footage of the belugas into the cab during transport. Furthermore, a communications system will make it possible to talk to the belugas from there. “Should the belugas get restless, their trainers will be able to talk to them,” Sigurjón explains. That is the first solution applied to calm them down, since they’d like to avoid using sedatives.”

The trucks, provided by TVG-Zimsen, will drive the belugas onboard the Herjólfur ferry in Landeyjahöfn harbor. The ferry will be awaiting the whales and leaves as soon as the trucks are onboard.

In Vestmannaeyjar, the belugas will be in quarantine for a few weeks before being let out into Klettsvík cove.


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