November 12 - Helirig, a helicopter service company which specialises in transport and installation flights lifting up to a maximum of five tonnes, has handled the lift and positioning of cages for cultivating farmed salmon from their point of assembly to

The cages are 17 m in diameter and almost 2.7 tonnes in weight and Helirig says that this is the first time helicopters have been used for their transportation.

Helirig was working for Northern Isles Salmon Ltd and aquaculture equipment manufacturer Fusion Marine and helped solve a major logistical headache.

The remote location and difficult access to the Scottish loch ruled out road transport as a viable option. Following fabrication at a nearby coastal site each pen was airlifted to the loch five miles away.

Super Puma AS332C was used to lift the consignment of 2.7 tonne (pictured below) pens which were slung beneath the helicopter on a specially designed 12 m long sling arrangement.

Michael Newman of Helirig said: "It takes a specialist long-line pilot and vertical reference flying techniques to do this sort of job safely. We are delighted that the job went so smoothly.

"This is the first time that we have completed a delivery project for the fish farming industry and there were some difficult elements to overcome, including designing a sling arrangement that ensured the pens didn't get damaged."

Helirig's areas of operation include locations inaccessible to conventional cranes and other lifting equipment, and installations that are highly time-critical.