Takeaways from AECO's 20th Anniversary Conference
By Dr. Karl Bergsten, Associate Chief Medical Officer
Dr. Karl Bergsten, Associate Chief Medical Officer, recently attended the Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators (AECO) 20th Anniversary event in Oslo.
AECO is a voluntary cooperative organisation of cruise lines working largely in the European arctic, including Greenland and Svalbard. Here are Dr. Bergsten’s impressions and takeaways from AECO’s annual conference:
There is a strong need within arctic cruising to not overwhelm local medical resources. Among AECO members, there is also strong interest in streamlined solutions for the required passenger medical questionnaires, which can burden local resources. The afternoon then consisted of an open house for technical operators and reps from various destinations.
Day two featured presentations, panels and discussions from AECO members and destinations, where medical disembarkations and referrals to local medical facilities were the leading concern – especially among Greenlandic representatives.
They also expressed a desire for cruise lines to assist with routine healthcare services, as a number of the communities don’t have their own full time doctors. Jay Collins, deputy superintendent with the Canadian coast guard, discussed her team’s work in the region and stressed the coast guard’s willingness to train local medical professionals.
In Svalbard, specifically, stakeholders are pushing to reduce ship sizes and passenger numbers in order to alleviate strain on local hospitals. They also discussed the idea of requiring health certificates, like IAATO does, to further reduce this burden.
On the final day of the conference, AECO members held their annual meeting. Outside of internal policy making and organisational business, AECO announced an initiative to study the healthcare impact of arctic cruising.
They also discussed expanding their current online incident reporting form to include medical disembarkations and local hospital referrals, while Hurtigruten Expeditions, a valued VIKAND partner, took home a second consecutive Puffin Award for their commitment to AECO’s mission and operations.
In this edition of Pulse, learn more about onboard wellness interventions for seafarers and why they’re so important, how VIKAND’s air purification solution can reduce your energy consumption and carbon footprint, and our partner profile on Marine-Profile, a leader in psychological applied solutions to ensure safety, promote strong leadership, and nurture human resources in the maritime industry. Happy reading!