This is a decision made by AECO’s members and involves that the general use of UAVs will be prohibited for cruise guest travelling with AECO’s members. AECO’s members can for special purposes, e.g. when involved in research – or film projects, decide to allow for the use of UAVs.
Use of UAVs increases throughout the world. This development comes with a risk of disturbance of people as well as wildlife. Noise might be an issue and a UAV can also represent a risk of littering if it gets out of control and is lost. Travelers to pristine Arctic areas enjoy unique nature and wildlife experiences, remoteness and silence. AECO finds that some of these values may be at risk if the general use of UAVs is allowed to continue to increase in the Arctic.
“We do not want guests to use UAVs to try to get closer to wildlife and risk disturbance of animals, birds or other guests”, says AECO’s Executive Director Frigg Jørgensen. “It would also be very unfortunate if an UAV is lost and cannot be retrieved from Arctic nature areas”, she adds.
Prohibition on use of UAVs is only one of many areas where AECO’s members have committed to stronger environmental – and safety regulations than the legal requirements (www.aeco.no/guidelines). Because a ban has been decided by AECO and implemented by AECO’s members it will be applicable for most expedition cruise passengers in the Arctic. The greater majority of all expedition cruise operators that cruises in Svalbard, Greenland, Canada, the National Park of Russian Arctic and Jan Mayen (25 operators with 30 vessels) are members of AECO, and only a few are not. Approximately 17.000 passengers will visit the Arctic onboard a vessel operated by an AECO member in 2015.
Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO)
AECO is a member organization founded in 2003 to ensure that expedition cruises and tourism in the Arctic is carried out with the utmost consideration for the Arctic natural environment, local cultures and cultural remains, as well as in regard to safety hazards at sea and on land. AECO’s backbone is a number of guidelines which members and their guest are obliged to follow to ensure responsible tourism in the Arctic.