Voltek Polyolefin Foam Aids in Rescue Efforts for Stranded Whales

LAWRENCE, MA (February 2004) – Denise Jackson knew she needed to spring into action fast to find a cushioning material to protect seven stranded pilot whales that beached themselves near Big Pine Key, Florida. And, she knew from her marine experience that it had to be closed-cell foam. A quick Internet search turned up Voltek, a Division of Sekisui America Corporation, as a manufacturer of Minicel polyolefin foam.
Jackson, stranding coordinator for the Florida Keys Marine Mammal Rescue Team, called Voltek and was put in contact with David McGrath, Market Manager, had Minicel cross-linked, closed-cell foam in her hands by July 22, 2003. Minicel is an extremely fine-celled foam that is ideal for applications where thicker sections are required, such as within the transportation/marine, healthcare, building and construction, and sports and leisure industries.
It’s was an incredible donation from Voltek and more than an adequate amount of product — “we normally have to beg, borrow and steal everything” said Jackson. “The foam is going to last for years and will help with any future stranding.”
Twenty-eight pilot whales had stranded themselves in shallow waters just northwest of Big Pine Key. Eight of the whales died, nine swam away, four had to be euthanized, and seven remained. These seven whales had to be moved twice before they reached their final destination — that’s when Voltek’s Minicel foam came into play.
During transport the foam was placed underneath the whales along with waterbeds to alleviate muscle deterioration, which according to Jackson,