In memory of Sarah Auffret

Sarah Auffret was AECO’s environmental agent and a dear friend of everyone at AECO.

On Sunday March 10, 2019, she was on her way to Nairobi to talk about the Clean Seas project in connection with the UN Environment Assembly. Her Ethiopian Airlines flight crashed soon after take-off from Addis Ababa with no survivors.  Sarah touched the lives of hundreds of people and inspired the people around her to make a difference.


Sarah joined AECO in May 2018 and was based in Tromsø. Sarah held a project position as AECO’s environmental agent and was responsible for AECO’s Clean Seas initiatives. She led AECO’s efforts to drastically cut back on single-use plastics on Arctic expedition cruise vessels, as well as enhance cruise passengers’ involvement in regular beach cleanups.

Sarah grew up in France and has lived in the UK, Australia, Germany, Argentina, Japan, Norway and Port Lockroy on the Antarctic Peninsula. She held a BA in European Studies and German from the University of Plymouth. She has worked as a polar guide, expedition leader on cruises in Svalbard, East Greenland and the Antarctic Peninsula and as base leader of Port Lockroy. She had a long-standing passion for environmental issues. In 2010, she initiated a coastal cleanup movement in Naruto, Japan.

Cleanup for Sarah June 10-18

Since the start of Clean up for Sarah, a significant number of cleanups have taken place on this date all over the world, ranging as far afield as Asia and Australia, Europe and North America.  June 2023 marks the 5th annual Cleanup and we hope as many as possible will join in.

We ask you to also kindly register your clean ups on this interactive map  so we can see all your efforts. Please follow these easy instructrions:

  1. Sign up on
  2. Just take a picture of the litter you have picked. Make sure your location services are turned on*.
  3. Upload the picture and tag with CU4Sarah

* iPhone. Open Settings -> Privacy -> Location. Turn “Camera On While Using”.
* Android. Open the Camera. Go to camera settings => Activate Geotagging. Pull down top-menu and Activate GPS
Your photos are now geotagged!

We encourage everyone to share their efforts on social media using the hashtag #CleanupforSarah and to post pictures on the Expedition Boat People page on Facebook.

Memorial Fund

 In March 2019, a fundraiser was set up with the aim of raising funds to advance environmental stewardship. In accordance with the wishes of Sarah’s closest family, the funds collected were donated to Tara Ocean Foundation. Tara Ocean Foundation organizes voyages to study and understand the impact of climate change and the ecological crisis facing the world’s oceans.


Official statements:

March 10th, 2019: AECO staff member perished in plane accident

March 13th, 2019: Memorial gathering in Tromsø