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 16

On June 16, people around the world will carry out cleanup actions in their local environment. This global effort will mark the birthday of Sarah Auffret. Learn more about Cleanup for Sarah here.

AECO would like to encourage as many people as possible to use this date in June to rally together to clean up plastic litter in your outdoor environment, no matter if it is on a beach or anywhere else. This could be a community or individual effort, a social work event for staff, or an opportunity for cruise ship vessels to educate passengers further about how easily plastic waste ends up in the marine environment and what to do about it.

Already there are a number of planned cleanups on this date, ranging as far afield as Asia and Australia, Europe and North America. AECO would like to hear of any efforts made to reduce plastic waste in the environment on this date at You can register your cleanup or get involved in an organised one by clicking here.

AECO also encourages everyone to share their efforts on social media using the hashtag #CleanupforSarah.

More information about the event can be found here  – Press Release – Cleanup for Sarah

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.


For press inquiries, please contact:

Edda Falk, communications manager
Cell phone: +47 476 32 550
E-mail: edda(a)

Official statements:

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

March 13th, 2019: Memorial gathering in Tromsø

Background information

Learn more about AECO’s Clean Seas Project here.