Frigg Jørgensen

Executive Director

Contact information:

Phone: +47 79 02 11 11
Cell phone: +47 913 90 554
E-mail: frigg(a)


Frigg joined AECO in 2006. As AECO’s executive director (ED), based in Longyearbyen, she is responsible for the day-to-day operation of AECO and is the manager of the Secretariat. The ED is the treasurer of AECO and serves as a contact between standing committees, all members and partners. Together with the assistant director, the ED is responsible for implementing AECO’s action plans and ensuring that activities are aligned with the organization’s objectives and strategies. The ED is also AECO’s primary spokesperson, representing members and advocating on their behalf. In addition to her managerial responsibilities, Frigg’s focus areas are Svalbard, search and rescue (SAR), marine issues, and project management.

Frigg comes from Northern Norway and has lived in Svalbard and worked in polar tourism since 1992. After completing a college degree in tourism, she started as manager for what today is called Visit Svalbard, building up the local tourist office in Longyearbyen and coordinating the establishment of the Svalbard Tourism Board. From 2001 till 2006, she worked as the first tourism adviser at the Governor of Svalbard office. Frigg has been project manager for the development of “The Svalbard Guide Courses”, “General guidelines for tourism in Svalbard”, “Clean up Svalbard” and “The Governor’s strategy for tourism and outdoor recreation”. Since she joined AECO, she has been responsible for several of AECO’s numerous projects. Frigg speaks Norwegian, English and some German.

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Brede Valanes

Marine Operations Specialist

Contact information:

Phone: +47 414 06 810
E-mail: brede(a)


Brede Valanes is AECO’s marine operations agent. He joined AECO in April 2019. Brede’s work focuses on the maritime, technical and regulatory affairs that AECO is involved in. He is involved in initiatives, projects and partnerships related to areas such as operational tools and overviews, search and rescue, hydrography, meteorology/ice, communication, as well as other tasks. He is based at AECO’s head office in Tromsø, Norway.

Brede is Norwegian and a certified Master Mariner. He has experience from the coast guard, fisheries, oil and gas industry, as well as cruise tourism. In addition to working at sea, Valanes has worked on maritime regulatory issues and implementation and safety management systems. He has worked with accident prevention and contingency planning and conducted audits and ship inspections. Valanes has coordinated Polar Code implementation for expedition cruise vessels and contributed to new build projects. Brede speaks Norwegian and English.

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Melissa Nacke

Environmental Specialist

Contact information:

Phone: +47 465 00 675
E-mail: melissa(a)


Melissa Nacke is AECO’s environmental specialist. She joined AECO in August 2019. Melissa manages AECO’s Clean Seas project and is involved in a range of tasks connected to AECO’s efforts to safeguard the environment. Melissa is  based in AECO’s main office in Tromsø.

Melissa worked as a Specialist in Arctic Shipping and Marine Conservation for the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) where she led projects related to safe shipping, pollution and marine protection in the Arctic. Through this work, she engaged at the local community, federal and international level and collaborated with variety of stakeholders, including industry, government, Indigenous representatives, and scientists.

Melissa holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine Biology and Oceanography and a Master of Science degree focused on Arctic oceanography. As part of her research, she led a three-month fieldwork expedition in Resolute, Nunavut and conducted research onboard the Canadian Coast Guard’s Amundsen vessel as well as the Norwegian Helmer Hansen research vessel while enrolled at the University Centre in Svalbard.

Melissa is Canadian.



Ilja Leo Lang

Assistant Director 

Contact information:

Phone: +45 26 24 95 92
E-mail: ilja(a)


Ilja joined AECO in January 2012 and works as assistant director from AECO’s office in Copenhagen, Denmark. Ilja works closely with AECO’s executive director and the other members of the Secretariat to advance the interests of AECO’s members. Ilja’s focus areas include Canada, Russia, and marine issues.

Ilja grew up in Denmark, and has lived in Germany, England, Australia, Norway and Greenland. He has a master’s degree in social science from the University of Copenhagen and a journalist diploma from the Danish School of Journalism. In 2007, he wrote his master thesis about Greenland – which has also been published as a book. Ilja has worked as a lecturer at the University of Greenland, and with expedition cruise operations in Greenland for different companies. Ilja speaks fluent Danish, English and German.

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Edda Falk

Communications Manager


Cell phone: +47 476 32 550
E-mail: edda(a)


Edda has been AECO’s communications manager since May 2017. She is based in Oslo, working from a home office, but periodically works from AECO’s office in Longyearbyen. Her focus areas include AECO’s communications and outreach, including media relations, web presence, social media and member resources. She also contributes to AECO’s strategic planning and advocacy efforts.

Edda is Norwegian, and her background includes language studies, communications and international relations, specializing in Arctic issues. She has previously worked for the Norwegian Embassy in Havana, the Canadian Embassy in Norway and as an arctic advocacy officer for the Canadian International Arctic Centre in Oslo, where she coordinated the promotion of Canada’s Arctic interests abroad. She has also held the position of communications adviser at the High North Center for Business and Governance in Bodø, which focuses on business and innovation in the circumpolar Arctic. Edda speaks Norwegian, English, Spanish and French.

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M. Florencia Becherini

Administration and Finance Officer


Cell phone: +47 468 08 917
Phone: +47 79 02 11 11
E-mail: florencia(a)


M. Florencia (Flor) is AECO’s administration and finance officer. She joined the Secretariat in September 2015. Flor works with accounting, administration, archives, event planning, general inquiries and member service. Flor assists members and ships with administrative and membership issues, including AECO’s Cruise scheduler and vessel contact list. She is based at AECO’s office in Longyearbyen.

Flor comes from Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she grew up and spent most of her life. She holds a bachelor’s degree in international trade with specialization in international economy and worked more than twelve years as an account manager both in an Argentinean bank and in the biggest newspaper in the country. After completing her studies in 2012, she moved to Norway, where she learned Norwegian. Florencia also speaks English and has Spanish as a mother tongue.

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Isabelle Howells

Communications Assistant


Phone: +44 7900 340 563
E-mail: isabelle(a)


Isabelle joined AECO as communications assistant in April 2019, working from the office in Longyearbyen. Her work includes supporting the various elements of AECO’s communication strategy, writing content and press releases as well as promoting the organisation’s online presence.

Having studied marketing and public relations at university, Isabelle has since been working in communications for a number of different organisations including local government and for communication agencies promoting policy change in developing countries. Since working for several charities and arts and cultural organisations, Isabelle has worked in a freelance capacity and has enjoyed focusing on facilitating the development of marketing strategies for start-ups and NGOs.

Isabelle is from a part of the UK steeped in maritime tradition and grew up spending much time on the water. Familiar with the Arctic cruise expedition industry, Isabelle has been working for the past four years on boats in Iceland, Tromsø and Svalbard as well as working as expedition leader in East Greenland. Having trained as a commercial skipper of sailing boats, she has a good understanding of the daily processes cruise operators are faced with in the Arctic. Isabelle has a keen interest in environmental matters and specifically the impact of tourism on the Arctic environment.

Isabelle speaks English and French.


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