EU legislation governing maritime passenger rights came into force on 18 December 2012, following the adoption of Regulation 1177/2010. The rules cover the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway.

This Regulation shall apply in respect of passengers travelling:

- On passenger services where the port of embarkation is situated in the territory of a Member State.

- On passenger services where the port of embarkation is situated outside the territory of a Member State and the port of disembarkation is situated in the territory of a Member State, provided that the service is operated by a Union carrier.

- On a cruise where the port of embarkation is situated in the territory of a Member State2.

However, this Regulation shall not apply to certain passengers travelling by sea or inland waterways3.

The EU Regulation 1170/2010 shall not preclude passengers from seeking damages in respect of loss resulting from cancellation or delay of transport services before national courts.

1 – Summary compiled in accordance with article 23, paragraph 2, of the EU Regulation 1177/2010. This summary has no legal force.

2 – The passengers of a cruise have no right to an alternative transport service, nor to any refund in case of cancellation or delay of the departures, nor the right to any compensation in case of delay in arrival.

3 – This Regulation shall not apply in respect of passengers travelling: on ships certified to carry up to 12 passengers, on ships which have a crew responsible for the operation of the ship composed of not more than three persons or where the distance of the overall passenger service is less than 500 metres, one way, on excursion and sightseeing tours other than cruises, or on ships not propelled by mechanical means as well as original, and individual replicas of, historical passenger ships designed before 1965, built predominantly with the original materials, certified to carry up to 36 passengers. Member States may exempt from the application of this Regulation seagoing ships of less than 300 gross tons operated in domestic transport to December 17th, 2014 and through an undefined period in case of services subject to public service obligations, contracts or integrated services, provided that the rights of passengers under this Regulation are adequately ensured under national law.

RIGHT TO INFORMATION

All the passengers travelling by sea or inland waterway have the right to an adequate information throughout all their travel. This right includes the right to receive information about the rights of the passengers and the necessary references to contact the national enforcement bodies, and the access conditions for the transport of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility.

In the case of a cancellation or a delay, the passengers shall be informed by the carrier or, where appropriate, by the terminal operator, of the situation as soon as possible and in any event no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled time of departure, and of the estimated departure time and estimated arrival time as soon as that information is available.

RIGHT TO NON-DISCRIMINATORY CONTRACT CONDITIONS

All the contract conditions and tariffs for commercial passenger maritime and inland waterway services, including cruises, applied by carriers or ticket vendors shall be offered to all the persons without any direct or indirect discrimination based on the nationality of the final customer or on the place of establishment of carriers or ticket vendors within the Union.

RIGHT TO THE ASSISTANCE

Where a carrier reasonably expects the departure of a passenger service or a cruise to be cancelled or delayed for more than 90 minutes beyond its scheduled time of departure, passengers departing from port terminals shall be offered free of charge snacks, meals or refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time, provided as they are available or can reasonably be supplied.

In the case of a cancellation or a delay in departure where a stay of one or more nights or a stay additional to that intended by the passenger becomes necessary, the carrier shall offer passengers departing from port terminals, free of charge, adequate accommodation on board, or ashore, and transport to and from the port terminal and place of accommodation. This obligation shall not apply where the cancellation or delay is caused by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship.

The carrier shall not offer assistance to those passengers who have been informed of the cancellation or delay before the purchase of the ticket, or if the cancellation or delay is caused by the fault of the passenger.

RE-ROUTING AND REIMBURSEMENT IN THE EVENT OF CANCELLED OR DELAYED DEPARTURES

Where a carrier reasonably expects a passenger service to be cancelled or delayed in departure from a port terminal for more than 90 minutes, the passenger shall be offered the choice between:

- re-routing to the final destination, under comparable conditions, as set out in the transport contract, at the earliest opportunity and at no additional cost, or

- reimbursement of the ticket price and, where relevant, a return service free of charge to the first point of departure, as set out in the transport contract, at the earliest opportunity.

- The carrier shall not offer assistance to those passengers who have been informed of the cancellation or delay before the purchase of the ticket, or if the cancellation or delay is caused by the fault of the passenger.

RIGHT TO A PARTIAL COMPENSATION OF THE TICKET PRICE IN THE EVENT OF DELAY IN ARRIVAL TO THE FINAL DESTINATION

Passengers may request compensation from the carrier of 25% of the ticket price if they are facing a delay in arrival at the final destination of at least:

- 1 hour in the case of a scheduled journey of up to 4 hours;

- 2 hours in the case of a scheduled journey of more than 4 hours, but not exceeding 8 hours;

- 3 hours in the case of a scheduled journey of more than 8 hours, but not exceeding 24 hours; or

- 6 hours in the case of a scheduled journey of more than 24 hours.

Passengers may request compensation from the carrier of 50% of the ticket price if they are facing a delay in arrival at the final destination of at least:

- 2 hours in the case of a scheduled journey of up to 4 hours;

- 4 hours in the case of a scheduled journey of more than 4 hours, but not exceeding 8 hours;

- 6 hours in the case of a scheduled journey of more than 8 hours, but not exceeding 24 hours; or

- 12 hours in the case of a scheduled journey of more than 24 hours.

This shall not apply where the carrier proves that the cancellation or delay is caused by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship or by extraordinary circumstances hindering the performance of the passenger service which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.

RIGHTS OF DISABLED PERSONS AND PERSONS WITH REDUCED MOBILITY

Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility, who are travelling by sea or inland waterways, have the following rights, in addiction to the rights of the other passengers:

A) RIGHT TO ACCESS TO TRANSPORT OF DISABLED PERSONS AND PERSONS WITH REDUCED MOBILITY, WITHOUT ANY DISCRIMINATION

Carriers, travel agents and tour operators shall not refuse to accept a reservation, to issue or otherwise provide a ticket or to embark persons on the grounds of disability or of reduced mobility as such.

In the event of a refusal to accept a reservation or to issue or otherwise provide a ticket where the design of the passenger ship or port infrastructure and equipment, including port terminals, makes it impossible the transport of the said person in a safe or operationally feasible manner, carriers, travel agents and tour operators shall make all reasonable efforts to propose to the person concerned an acceptable alternative transport on a passenger service or a cruise operated by the carrier. Where a disabled person or a person with reduced mobility, who holds a reservation or has a ticket and has notified the carrier at the time of reservation or advance purchase of the ticket of their specific needs, is nonetheless denied embarkation, shall be offered the choice between the right to reimbursement and re-routing. The right to the option of a return journey or re-routing shall be conditional upon all safety requirements being met.

Carriers, travel agents and tour operators shall offer reservations and tickets to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility at no additional cost and under the same conditions that apply to all other passengers.

Carriers and terminal operators shall establish, or have in place, non-discriminatory access conditions for the transport of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility and accompanying persons.

B) RIGHT TO SPECIAL ASSISTANCE

Carriers and terminal operators shall provide assistance free of charge to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility in ports, including embarkation and disembarkation, and on board ships.

These persons shall notify the carrier, at the time of reservation or advance purchase of the ticket, of their specific needs with regard to accommodation, seating or services required or their need to bring medical equipment. Disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility shall notify the carrier or the terminal operator of the need for other assistance at the latest 48 hours before the assistance is needed, and shall present themselves at the port at the designated point, at a time stipulated before the published embarkation time.

C) RIGHT TO A COMPENSATION IN RESPECT OF LOSS OR DAMAGE OF MOBILITY EQUIPMENT OR OTHER SPECIFIC EQUIPMENT

Carriers and terminal operators shall be liable for loss suffered as a result of the loss of or damage to mobility equipment or other specific equipment, used by a disabled person or person with reduced mobility, if the incident which caused the loss was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier or the terminal operator. The compensation shall correspond to the replacement value of the equipment concerned or, where applicable, to the costs relating to repairs.

RIGHT TO MAKE A COMPLAINT TO THE CARRIERS AND THE NATIONAL IMPLEMENTING BODIES

Passengers can submit a complaint to the carrier or terminal operators, within 2 months from the date on which the service was performed or when a service should have been performed.

Carriers and terminal operators shall set up or have in place an accessible complaint-handling mechanism. Within 1 month of receiving the complaint, the carrier or terminal operator shall give notice to the passenger that his complaint has been substantiated, rejected or is still being considered. The time taken to provide the final reply shall not be longer than 2 months from the receipt of a complaint.

Passengers can submit a complaint regarding any alleged violation of the EU Regulation 1177/2010 to the national enforcement bodies.

IMPLEMENTATION OF PASSENGER RIGHTS BY THE NATIONAL ENFORCEMENT BODIES AND COMPARABLE MECHANISMS

Each Member State shall designate bodies responsible for the enforcement of the rights and duties contained in the EU Regulation 1177/2010 regards passenger services and cruises from ports situated on its territory and passenger services from a third country to such ports.

Member States that have chosen to exempt from the application of this Regulation passenger services covered by public service obligations, public service contracts or integrated services shall ensure that a comparable mechanism of enforcement of passenger rights is in place.

Passengers can submit a complaint regarding any alleged violation of the EU Regulation 1177/2010 to the national enforcement bodies.

For further information: http://ec.europa.eu/transport/passenger-rights/en/29-other-modes-2.html

Download pdf: Rights of passengers when travelling by sea

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