All passengers travelling by ferry or boat in Europe are entitled to refunds and other compensation for cancellations or delays of more than 90 minutes, under new rules coming into force yesterday (December 18th).
The new EU rules, adapted from those already covering trains and planes, include guarantees of reimbursement or rerouting if a ferry or boat service is cancelled, as well as basic food and drink for stranded passengers and if necessary, accommodation of up to three nights (with a limit of £65 a night).
For very late arrivals, passengers will be entitled to compensation of between a quarter and half of the ticket price.
West Midlands region MEP Phil Bennion, the Lib Dems' European Transport Spokesman, welcomed the move and said it was important to raise awareness of these new EU rules among ferry passengers, as many rail and air travellers are still kept in the dark about their rights for compensation.
Dr Bennion added:
"It is great news for passengers travelling by ferry or going on cruises that they now have a legal right to get assistance and claim compensation when things go wrong, anywhere in the EU.
"People with a disability or reduced mobility are especially protected by the new rules and entitled to specific help free of charge both at port terminals and on board ships.
"It is important that transport operators guarantee rights for passengers and also take proper steps to keep them informed, especially when delays happen. This is essential to encourage mobility across all EU countries, a key priority for me on the Parliament's Transport Committee."
In March 2013, EU passenger rights will also be extended to travel by bus and coach.
The Regulation on passenger rights in maritime and inland waterway transport was published on 17 December 2010 as Regulation 1177/2010. It entered into force on 18 December 2012.
The Regulation applies in respect of passengers travelling:
- on passenger services where the port of embarkation is situated in the territory of an EU Member State
- on passenger services where the port of embarkation is outside the territory of an EU 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 EU Member State.