After the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators’ Annual Meeting, the association announced several decisions, aiming to strengthen responsible industry practices. Among these, is a ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) in the Arctic.
AECO agreed on a self-imposed ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil (HFO) by AECO members operating in the Arctic. The current practice among the association’s members is to refrain from using HFO when sailing in the Arctic. This practice has now been formalized and is a mandatory guideline. What is more, AECO was an early signatory of the Arctic Commitment, which calls for a phase-out of HFO from Arctic shipping.
Commenting on the decision, Executive Director Frigg Jørgensen, said that:
AECO represents the great majority of operators that offer expedition cruising in the Arctic. By formalizing 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
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In addition, AECO decided that it must focus on its core segment, which is expedition cruising. In addition, the organization is expanding efforts in Iceland and has established an Iceland resource group. In cooperation with Icelandic partners, the association is also considering ways for expedition cruise operators to contribute to beach clean-ups in Iceland.
What is more, various others new Arctic guidelines were made mandatory in preparation for the 2020 Arctic cruise season. These include:
- Clean Seas Guidelines for Visitors;
- Vegetation Guidelines;
- Cultural Remains Guidelines;
- Yacht Guidelines;
- Community Specific Guidelines for Seyðisfjörður, Sisimiut and Ny-Ålesund.
Moreover, seven new specific guidelines for communities in Greenland and Canada are also in the pipeline.
Finally, AECO concluded that all field staff working for AECO members should be required to retake AECO’s Field Staff Online Assessment before each season. This would make sure that they have updated knowledge about AECO guidelines, as well as relevant laws and regulations.