Following the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators’ (AECO) recent annual meeting, several decisions were made.
One notable decision was the self-imposed ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) by AECO members operating in the Arctic.
It was the practice among the association’s members to refrain from using HFO when sailing in the Arctic. However, this has now been formalised as a mandatory guideline.
AECO was an early signatory of the Arctic Commitment, which calls for a phase-out of polluting heavy fuel oil (HFO) from Arctic shipping.
According to Executive Director, Frigg Jørgensen, banning HFO has broad support among the association’s members.
“AECO represents the great majority of operators that offer expedition cruising in the Arctic. By formalising this ban, the expedition cruise industry is sending a message to decision-makers that it is time to act to protect the Arctic from the risk of HFO pollution,” he said.
The meeting also decided that the organisation should focus on its core segment – expedition cruising.
AECO is also stepping up its efforts in Iceland and has established a resource group on the island. Together with local partners, the association is also looking into how expedition cruise operators can contribute to beach clean-ups.
In addition, several new Arctic guidelines were made mandatory in preparation for the 2020 Arctic cruise season. These included Clean Seas Guidelines for Visitors, Vegetation Guidelines, Cultural Remains Guidelines, Yacht Guidelines and Community Specific Guidelines for Seyðisfjörður, Sisimiut and Ny-Ålesund.
Seven new specific guidelines for communities in Greenland and Canada are in the pipeline.
AECO’s members also decided that all field staff working for the membership should be required to retake AECO’s Field Staff Online Assessment prior to each season to ensure that they have updated knowledge about the guidelines, as well as relevant laws and regulations.