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MV Expedition & iceberg (photo - AECO)
The voluntary ban on HFO use in the Arctic is aimed to reduce dirty emissions PHOTO: AECO

Arctic expedition cruise operators agree to voluntary HFO ban

The Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators has approved a self-imposed ban on the use and carriage of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic.

 

Formalized as a mandatory guideline

 

The current practice among the association’s members is to refrain from using HFO when sailing in the Arctic. This has now been formalized as a mandatory guideline. AECO was an early signatory of the Arctic Commitment, which calls for a phase out of polluting HFO from Arctic shipping.

According to Executive Director Frigg Jørgensen, the HFO ban enjoys broad support among the association’s members.

‘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,’ she said.

 

Other actions

 

In other moves, the association decided it should concentrate on its core segment, expedition cruising.

AECO is stepping up efforts in Iceland and has established an Iceland resource group. Together with Icelandic partners, the association is also looking into how expedition cruise operators can contribute to beach clean-ups there.

Several 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 and Community Specific Guidelines for Seyðisfjörður, Sisimiut and Ny-Ålesund. Seven new specific guidelines for communities in Greenland and Canada are in the pipeline.

AECO members have also decided that all field staff should be required to retake the association’s Field Staff Online Assessment prior to each season to ensure they have updated knowledge about AECO guidelines and relevant laws and regulations.