10 years of sustainable expedition cruises

November 7th, 2013


Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) celebrates its 10 year anniversary in Oslo and the last decades focus on responsible, environmentally friendly and safe expedition cruise tourism in the Arctic.


AECO is an international organization for the expedition cruise industry, dedicated to manage responsible, environmentally friendly and safe tourism in the Arctic. AECO and its members are working to protect the environment, not only because it is the responsible thing to do – but also because environmentally friendly, sustainable and safe expedition cruises are the key to future success for AECO and its operators.


Strict procedures to ensure sustainable operations and safety

AECO has a comprehensive set of guidelines for operators in the Arctic. Since the very beginning these have been known to employ practices and procedures that are substantially more protective of the environment, local cultures and cultural remains than the current requirements by local, national and international regulations. AECO’s guidelines also include safety measures beyond legal legislations.


No heavy fuel oil on AECO vessels

AECO’s members do not use heavy fuel oils in the Arctic. When AECO was founded in 2003 it was decided that only lighter fuels, should be considered for use in connection with operations. But AECO’s work in regard to sustainable operations goes further than this. At AECO’s annual meeting and general assembly AECO’s members coordinate and implement innovative technologies and measures to further reduce the environmental impact of cruising.


AECO educate visitors about how to behave in Arctic communities

AECO-members have been at the forefront of the development of sound cultural standards for cruise operations in the Arctic. As a part of AECO’s visitor guidelines AECO members work with passengers in order to impact the local communities in a good way. AECO-visitors are asked to contribute to local communities by purchasing certified craft and souvenirs, not to pick flowers, not take stones or build cairns and to ask the locals before taking photos. According to Frigg Jørgensen, AECO’s executive Director “basic measures in regard to providing passengers and guest with at correct code of conduct is vital for the success in small communities”.


New satellite based system to increase standards in regards to safety at sea

AECO-members have been at the forefront of the development of safety standards in regard to the operation of vessels in the Arctic.

“With AECO’s new satellite based vessel tracking scheme, which is currently being used by AECO’s members, AECO operators now have a new tool which gives them information about the position, name, course and speed of other vessels. In connection with Search – and Rescue (SAR) operations we believe this system can give important additional information” says Frigg Jørgensen. Approximately 20 AECO vessels have already implemented AECO’s vessel tracking system.


Tourism, communication and research go together

For AECO tourism, communication and research goes hand in hand. An example of this is a ongoing collaboration between AECO and researchers at the University in Tromsø, where researchers looks at the effects of biosecurity measures– i.e. the cleaning of clothes and washing of boots onboard AECO-vessels – in order to prevent seeds and microorganisms to spread throughout the Arctic. In connection to this project AECO-members have been distributing hand-outs to passengers about basic biosecurity measures.


AECO’s 10year anniversary meeting and Cruise Conference in Oslo

For the 10th time AECO’s members and a long list of 3rd parties such as researchers, scientists, governmental and non-governmental organizations and others with an interested in cruise tourism issues in the Arctic gather in Oslo to attend AECO’s Annual Cruise Conference. This year there has been a particular great interest in the conference and more than 60 delegates will be present on October 15th. The agenda covers updates, regulatory issues and news from Russia, Svalbard, Greenland and Canada as well as Pan-Arctic-issues with a presentation from the Arctic Council. This meeting will be followed up by AECO’s members only annual meeting on October 16th where delegates from AECO’s more than 30 members will discuss a number of cruise related issues.


Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (or AECO) is an organization for expedition cruise operators in the Arctic dedicated to manage respectable, environmentally-friendly and safe expedition cruises in the Arctic.The more than 30 international members operate approximately 27 vessels all over the Arctic.


Related Links:

You can read more about AECO on: www.aeco.no

And see AECO’s guidelines for Arctic operations at: https://www.aeco.no/guidelines


More Information:

For more information please contact AECO’s Executive director Frigg Jørgensen, phone +47 913 90 554