Ship Passengers Granted New Legal EU Rights

Press Release
Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A new European Union regulation gives passengers travelling by water improved rights to assistance in cases of cancelled or delayed departures.

Passengers travelling by water are set to enjoy improved rights to assistance in cases of cancelled or delayed departures as a new EU regulation on maritime passenger rights enters into force.. These passengers will now benefit from similar rights to those travelling by air and rail.

The EU regulation, which will apply to most cruise and ferry services operating within the EU, also provides disabled persons or those with reduced mobility the same rights and accessibility assistance when travelling by water, as they have in other transport sectors.

UK Shipping Minister, Stephen Hammond, said:

It is important that passengers receive protection across all modes of transport, enabling them to travel with increased peace of mind throughout the EU. While no one enjoys disruption to their travel plans, I am pleased that this new EU regulation will provide passengers with the right to assistance in cases of cancelled or delayed departures. I am also pleased that this new regulation provides disabled persons or those with reduced mobility the same rights and accessibility assistance when travelling by water, as they have in other transport sectors.
Most journeys run smoothly. On the rare occasions when things do go wrong, it is important that passenger complaints are taken seriously and dealt with effectively at the appropriate level. So in this respect, I am extremely grateful to all the bodies that have agreed to undertake voluntary complaint handling roles. This demonstrates collaborative working between government and industry at its best.

The EU regulation applies in respect of passengers travelling:

  • On ferry services where the port of embarkation is situated in the territory of an EU member state
  • On ferry services where the port of embarkation is situated outside the territory of an EU member state and the port of disembarkation is situated in the territory of an EU member state, provided that the service is operated by a union carrier. (‘union carrier’ means a carrier established within the territory of a member state or offering transport by a ferry service operated to or from the territory of a member state.)
  • On a cruise where the port of embarkation is situated in the territory of an EU member state
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