Legal Information

EU Summaries

Summary of provisions concerning the rights of passengers travelling by sea in the event of accidents1

[The carrier shall provide at least this information to the passengers prior to or on departure to the extent this Regulation applies to their carriage. This summary has no legal value]

Regulation (EC) No 392/2009 on the liability of carriers of passengers in the event of accidents becomes applicable in the EU and EEA States2 on 31 December 2012. It incorporates certain provisions of the 1974 Athens Convention (as amended by the 2002 Protocol) relating to the carriage of passengers and their luggage by sea.

The Regulation applies to all carriers in international carriage, including carriage between EU Member States, and certain types of domestic carriage, provided that:

-         the ship is flying the flag of a Member State or is registered in a Member State, or
-         the contract of carriage has been made in a Member State , or
-         the place of departure or destination or both, according to the contract of carriage, are in a Member State.

It covers liability of the carrier in respect of passengers, their luggage and their vehicles, as well as mobility equipment, in the event of accidents.

This Regulation does not affect the right of carriers to limit their liability for accidents in accordance with the International Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims of 1976, as amended by the 1996 Protocol in its up to date form.

Accidents under the Regulation include both 'shipping'3 and 'non-shipping' incidents in the course of the carriage.

RIGHTS OF PASSENGERS

Right to compensation for death or personal injury
Shipping incident
: the passenger has a right to compensation from the carrier or the carrier's insurance provider of up to 250.000 SDR4 in any event, with the exception of circumstances beyond the carrier's control (i.e. act of war, natural disaster, act of a third party). Compensation can go up to400.000 SDR unless the carrier proves that the incident occurred without his fault or neglect. Non-shipping incident: the passenger has a right to compensation from the carrier or the carrier's insurance provider of up to 400.000 SDR, if he/she proves that the incident was the result of the carrier's fault or neglect.

Right to compensation for loss of or damage to cabin luggage
Shipping incident
: the passenger has a right to compensation from the carrier of up to 2.250 SDR, unless the carrier proves that the incident occurred without his fault or neglect.
Non-shipping incident
: the passenger has a right to compensation from the carrier of up to 2.250 SDR, if he/she proves that the incident was the result of the carrier's fault or neglect.



____________________________________
1  Summary drafted in accordance with article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 392/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 (OJ L 131, 28.5.2009, p. 24) on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents.
2  The Regulation will become applicable to EEA States in accordance with the Decision of the EEA Joint Committee No 17/2011 (OJ L 171, 30.6.2011, p. 15) following the relevant notifications by EEA States concerned.
3  'Shipping incident' for the purposes of this Regulation include: shipwreck, capsizing, collision or stranding of the ship, explosion or fire in the ship or defect in the ship. All other incidents in the course of the carriage for the purposes of this summary are 'non-shipping' incidents.   4 Loss or damage suffered as a result of an accident are calculated on the basis of "units of account", which are "Special Drawing Rights"
(SDR) for Member States parties to the International Monetary Fund (all EU Member States). Information and conversion rates for SDR can be found on: http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/sdr.htm. On 26 November 2012 1 SDR = 1.18 EUR.



Right to compensation for loss of or damage to luggage other than cabin luggage

The passenger has a right to compensation from the carrier of up to 12.700 SDR (vehicles, including luggage carried in or on the vehicle) or 3.375 SDR (other luggage), unless the carrier proves that the incident occurred without his fault or neglect.

Right to compensation for loss of or damage to valuables
The passenger has a right to compensation from the carrier of up to 3.375 SDR for the loss of or damage to monies, negotiable securities, gold, silverware, jewellery, ornaments and works of art, only when these have been deposited with the carrier for the agreed purpose of safe-keeping.

Right of a passenger with reduced mobility to compensation for loss of or damage to mobility equipment or other specific equipment
Shipping incident
: the passenger has a right to compensation from the carrier corresponding to the replacement value or the repair costs of the equipment concerned, unless the carrier proves that the incident occurred without his fault or neglect.

Non-shipping incident: the passenger has a right to compensation from the carrier corresponding to the replacement value or the repair costs of the equipment concerned, if he/she proves that the incident was the result of the carrier's fault or neglect.

Right to an advance payment in the event of a shipping incident
In case of death or personal injury, the passenger or other person entitled to damages has a right to an advance payment to cover immediate economic needs. The payment shall be calculated on the basis of the damage suffered, shall be made within 15 days and shall not be less than 21.000 EUR in the event of death.

ELEMENTS OF PROCEDURE & OTHER MATTERS

Written notice
In case of damage to cabin or other luggage, the passenger must give timely5  written notice to the carrier. Failure to do so will result in the passenger losing his/her right to compensation.

Time limits for exercise of the passenger's rights
In general, any action for damages before a competent court must be introduced within a period of 2 years. The starting point of this limitation period may differ depending on the nature of the loss.

Exemptions concerning liability
Liability of the carrier can be reduced if he proves that the death of or personal injury to a passenger or the loss of or damage to his luggage was caused or contributed to by the fault or neglect of the passenger.

The limits on the different amounts for compensation will not apply if it is proved that the damage resulted from an act of the carrier, or a servant or agent of the carrier or of the performing carrier, done with the intent to cause such damage or with knowledge that such damage would probably result.

___________________________________________
5 In cases of apparent damage, written notice must be given before or at disembarkation for cabin luggage, and before or at re-delivery for other luggage. In cases of non-apparent damage to or loss of luggage, written notice must be given within 15 days from disembarkation or re-delivery (or scheduled re-delivery in the event of loss).

 

Summary of provisions concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway1

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

_______________________________________________

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.


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; or
  • 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; or
  • 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) No 1177/2010 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.