Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway becomes applicable on 18 December 2012.It provides for a minimum set of rights for passengers travelling

  • on passenger services where the port of embarkation is situated in a Member State,
  • on passenger services  operated  by  Union  carriers  from  a  port  situated  in  a  third  country to a port situated in a Member State and
  • on a cruise where the port of embarkation is situated in a Member State2.

The Regulation does however, not apply to certain categories of waterborne transport services3. Regulation  (EU)  No  1177/2010  does  not  preclude  passengers  from  claiming  damages  before  national  courts  in  accordance  with  national  law  in  respect  of  individualised  damages resulting from cancellation or delay of transport services.

Right to information

All  passengers  travelling  by  sea  or  inland  waterways  have  the  right  to  adequate  information  throughout  their  travel.  That  right  includes  the  right  to  be  informed  on  passenger rights and contact details of the national enforcement bodies, and on the conditions  of  access  to  transport  for  disabled  persons  and  persons  with  reduced  mobility.

In  the  event  of  cancellation  or  delay  in  departure,  passengers  have  the  right  to  be  informed of the delay or cancellation by the carrier or terminal operator no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled time of departure and of the estimated departure and arrival time as soon as that information becomes available.

Right to non-discriminatory contract conditions

All persons have the right not to be discriminated directly or indirectly based on their nationality or the place of the establishment of the carrier or ticket vendor within the Union when purchasing tickets of waterborne passenger transport services and cruises.

Right to care and assistance

In  case  of  delay  of  more  than  90  minutes  or  cancellation  of  a  passenger  service  or  cruise,  and  where  reasonably  possible,  passengers  shall  be  offered  free  of  charge  snacks, meals or refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time.

Where  the  delay  or  cancellation  of  a  departure  necessitates  one  or  more  additional  nights of stay for the passenger, he or she shall be offered adequate accommodation free  of  charge  on  board  or  ashore  by  the  carrier  and  transport  to  and  from  the  port  terminal to the place of accommodation. Where a carrier proves that the cancellation or delay is caused by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship, he is relieved of the obligation to offer free accommodation.

The passenger is not entitled to assistance by the carrier, if he or she was informed of the cancellation or delay before the purchase of the ticket or where the cancellation or delay is caused by the fault of the passenger.

Right to re-routing and reimbursement in case of cancellation or delay of departure

In  case  of  a  delay  of  more  than  90  minutes  as  compared  to  the  scheduled  time  of  departure or cancellation of a passenger service, passengers have a right to choose between

  • re-routing to the  final  destination  at  no  additional  cost  at  the  earliest  opportunity  under comparable conditions and
  • reimbursement of the  ticket  price  combined,  where  relevant,  with  a  free  of  charge  return service at the earliest opportunity to the first point of departure set out in the transport contract.

Right to request partial compensation of the ticket price in case of delay in arrival to the final destination

Passengers may request the compensation of 25% of the ticket price from the carrier, where the delay in arrival to the final destination exceeds

  • 1 hour in case of a scheduled journey of up to 4 hours;
  • 2 hours in case of a scheduled journey of more than 4 hours, but not exceeding 8 hours;
  • 3 hours in case of a scheduled journey of more than 8 hours, but not exceeding 24 hours;
  • 6 hours in case of a scheduled journey of more than 24 hours.

Passengers may request the compensation of 50% of the ticket price from the carrier, where the delay in arrival to the final destination exceeds

  • 2 hours in case of a scheduled journey of up to 4 hours;
  • 4 hours in case of a scheduled journey of more than 4 hours, but not exceeding 8 hours;
  • 6 hours in case of a scheduled journey of more than 8 hours, but not exceeding 24 hours;
  • 12 hours in case of a schedule journey of more than 24 hours.

The carrier is however relieved of the obligation to pay compensation to passengers in case of delay in arrival, if he proves that the delay resulted from weather conditions endangering  the  safe  operation  of  the  ship  or  from  extraordinary  circumstances  hindering  the  performance  of  a  passenger  service  which  could  not  have  been  reasonably avoided.

Rights  of  disabled  passengers  and  passengers  with  reduced  mobility:  besides  the  general  passenger  rights,  disabled  persons  and  persons  with  reduced  mobility  have  the following rights when travelling by waterborne transport so as to provide them with a right to transport on an equal footing with other passengers:

(a)  right  to  access  to  transport  for  disabled  persons  and  persons  with  reduced  mobility without any discrimination

Carriers,  travel  agents  and  tour  operators  may  not  refuse  to  accept  a  reservation,  to  provide  a  ticket  or  to  embark  persons  on  the  grounds  of  their  disability  or  reduced  mobility.

Where it is not possible to carry a disabled person or a person with reduced mobility on board a ship for safety reasons or due to the impossibility of embarkation resulting from the design of the ship or port infrastructure and equipment, carriers, travel agents and tour operators have to make all reasonable efforts to propose the person concerned an acceptable alternative transport. Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility who hold a reservation, who have notified the carrier of their specific needs but are still denied boarding may choose between reimbursement and re-routing, the latter being conditional on the fulfilment of safety requirements.

Carriers,  travel  agents  or  tour  operators  may  not  ask  disabled  persons  or  persons  with  reduced  mobility  to  pay  a  higher  cost  for  reservations  or  tickets.  Tickets  and  reservations shall be offered to the disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility under the same conditions as to other passengers.

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

(b) right to special assistance

Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have the right to free of charge assistance  by  carriers  and  terminal  operators  in  ports  and  on  board  ships,  including  with embarkation and disembarkation.

Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility have to notify the carrier at the time of reservation or advance purchase of the ticket of their specific needs regarding accommodation, seating, required services or their need to bring medical equipment. For any other assistance the disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility need to  notify  the  carrier  or  terminal  operator  at  least  48  hours  in  advance  and  have  to  present themselves at an agreed time ahead of the published embarkation time at a designated point.

(c) right to compensation for loss of or damage to mobility equipment

Where a carrier or terminal operator has caused loss or damaged of mobility equipment or  other  specific  equipment  used  by  a  disabled  person  or  a  person  with  reduced  mobility due to his neglect or fault, he has to pay the disabled person or the person with  reduced  mobility  a  compensation  corresponding  to  the  replacement  value  of  the equipment concerned or, where it is possible to repair that equipment, the costs relating to repairs.

Right to submit complaints to the carriers and national enforcement bodies (NEBs)

Passengers  may  submit  complaints  to  the  carriers  and  terminal  operators  within  two  months from the date on which the service was performed or when it should have been performed.

The  carrier  or  terminal  operator  has  to  have  a  complaint  handling  system  in  place.  Within that framework he has to notify the passenger within 1 month of receipt of the complaint  whether  he  considers  the  complaint  to  be  substantiated,  rejected  or  still  considered. The carrier or terminal operator has to provide the passenger with a final reply within 2 months of receipt of the complaint.

Passengers may submit complaints about alleged infringements of Regulation (EU) No1177/2010 to national enforcement bodies.

Enforcement of passenger rights by NEBs and comparable mechanisms

Within Member States the designated national enforcement bodies shall enforce the rights  and  obligations  set  out  in  Regulation  (EU)  No  1177/2010  as  regards  passenger  services  and  cruises  from  ports  situated  on  the  territory  of  that  Member  State  and  passenger services from a third country to such ports.

Where a Member State has decided to exempt passenger transport services covered by public service contracts or integrated services from the scope of application of the Regulation,  it  will  need  to  ensure  that  a  comparable  mechanism  of  enforcement  of  passenger rights has been put in place.

The entity responsible of the application of the EU Regulation 1177/2010 is the ART (Authority of Transport regulation), with headquarters in Via Nizza, 230-10126 Torino

1 Summary drafted in accordance with Article 23(2) of Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010. This summary has no legal value.

2 Cruise passengers have no right to re-routing and reimbursement in case of cancelled or delayed departures and no right to compensation of the ticket price in case of delay in arrival.

3 Ships certified to carry up to 12 passengers, ships which have a crew responsible for the operation of  the  ship  composed  of  not  more  than  three  persons,  passenger  services  of  less  than  500  metres  one way, excursion and sightseeing tours other than cruises and 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, are excluded.

In  addition,  Member  States  may  decide  not  to  apply  the  Regulation  provided  that  the  rights  of  passengers  are  adequately  ensured  under  national  law  to  seagoing  ships  of  less  than  300  gross  tons  operated  in  domestic  transport  until  17  December  2014  and  for  an  indefinite  period  of  time  to  passenger  services  covered  by  public  service  obligations,  public  service  contracts  or  integrated  services.

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