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Rights for passengers travelling by waterborne transport

The Regulation on passenger rights in maritime and inland waterway transport was published on 17 December 2010 as Regulation 1177/2010. It will enter into effect on 18 December 2012; before this date these rights do not apply.

The Regulation applies 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 State.

However, the Regulation does not apply to passengers travelling on ships certified to carry up to 12 passengers, on ships with an operating crew of not more than three persons, or where the overall service is less than 500 metres, one way, on excursion and sightseeing tours or on ships propelled by non-mechanic means.

The new rights include amongst others:

In case of cancellations or delays at departure of more than 90 minutes:

  • guarantee of reimbursement or rerouting;
  • adequate assistance (such as snacks, meals, refreshments and, where necessary, accommodation up to three nights, with a financial coverage up to €80 per night)

In situations of delay in arrival or cancellation of journeys:

  • compensation, between 25% and 50% of the ticket price;

Protection for people with a disability or reduced mobility:

  • non-discriminatory treatment and specific assistance free of charge for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility both at port terminals and on board ships, as well financial compensation for loss or damage of their mobility equipment;

Right to information:

  • minimum rules on information for all passengers before and during their journey, as well as general information about their rights in terminals and on board ships;

Complaint handling:

  • establishment by carriers and terminal operators of complaint handling mechanism available to passengers;
  • Establishment of independent national bodies for the enforcement of the Regulation, through, where appropriate, the application of penalties.

For further information