Sea traveller rights

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They are regulated in Regulation 1177/2010 on the rights of passengers traveling by sea and inland waterway and in Regulation 329/2009 on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents and its Annex (Athens Convention).

A) Rights regulated in regulation 1177/2010

When they apply

They apply to a passenger using:

  • A passenger service whose port of embarkation is located in the territory of an E.U. Member State;
  • A passenger service whose port of embarkation is located outside the territory of an E.U. Member State and whose port of disembarkation is located in the territory of an E.U. Member State, provided that the operator of the service is an E.U. carrier;
  • A cruise whose port of embarkation is located in the territory of a Member State. However, the rules relating to the loss of connecting transport services due to cancellation or delay do not apply to cruises.
  • The right to re-routing and reimbursement in the event of cancellation or delay of departures, as well as compensation for the ticket price in the event of delayed arrival, do not apply to cruises.

It does not apply to the passenger traveling:

  • On vessels authorized to carry up to 12 passengers;
  • On vessels where the crew responsible for the operation of the vessel consists of a maximum of three persons or whose entire passenger service covers a distance of less than 500 meters in one direction;
  • On excursion and sightseeing tours, except cruise ships; or
  • On vessels not propelled by mechanical means, as well as on original vessels and unique reproductions of historical passages designed before 1965 and built predominantly with the original materials, authorized to carry up to 36 passengers.

Rights of the disabled passenger or person with reduced mobility (hereinafter PRM)

  • They cannot be charged additional costs or impose special conditions for the reservation and issuance of tickets for this reason;
  • Cannot refuse to accept a reservation or issue a ticket to a disabled passenger or PRM, unless it is strictly necessary to comply with safety regulations established by the competent authorities or when the design of the ship or port infrastructures make it impossible to transport them safely. In this case, the PRM may be required to be accompanied by another person capable of providing the required assistance. The transport of the accompanying person shall be free of charge for passenger services.
  • If a PRM has notified his or her special needs before purchasing the ticket, and at the time of boarding is denied boarding, such person and his or her companions will have the choice between reimbursement (and when necessary, return to the first point of departure) or, their relocation to the final destination without supplement in price and under comparable transport conditions.
  • In case of rejection of reservation or denied boarding, the PRM has the right to request the reasons for the rejection in writing within 5 days of the request.
  • Accessibility information must be provided to the passenger;
  • The passenger is entitled to free assistance at ports and on board ships, provided that he/she has requested it at least 48 hours in advance and presents himself/herself at the point told by the carrier not more than 60 minutes before the announced boarding time or if no boarding time has been determined, at least 60 minutes before the announced departure time.
  • The carrier is liable for loss of or damage to the mobility equipment of the PRM, provided that the event giving rise thereto is the result of the fault or negligence of the carrier. Compensation shall consist of the replacement value or the cost of repair of the equipment.

Passenger's rights in case of delays and cancellations:

  • If the delay is more than 90 minutes or the carriage is cancelled, the passenger is entitled to:
  • If the passenger misses a connection as a result of the delay/cancellation, the carrier or terminal operator must inform the passenger of alternative connections.
  • The passenger must be informed of the cancellation or delay as soon as possible and no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time. In addition, the estimated departure and arrival time must be communicated as soon as such information is available.
    1. To free snacks, meals and refreshments sufficient in relation to the waiting time, provided they are available or if they can be reasonably supplied.
    2. When, as a result of cancellation or delay, a stay of one or more nights or a stay additional to that intended by the passenger is required, the carrier shall, if and when materially possible, offer free of charge suitable accommodation, on board or ashore, to passengers departing from port terminals, as well as return transport between the port terminal and the place of accommodation. The carrier may limit to 80 euros per night per passenger and to a maximum of 3 nights the total cost of accommodation ashore, limitation which does not include return transport between the port terminal and the place of accommodation.
    3. To choose between: (i) reimbursement of the ticket price within 7 days and, if applicable, a free return service to the first point of departure in accordance with the contract of carriage, or (ii) continuation or conveyance to the final destination under comparable transport conditions at no additional cost.
    4. In addition, if reimbursement of the ticket is not chosen, compensation may be demanded, which must be paid within one month and shall be at least:
      • 25% of the ticket price in case of delay in case of delay of at least one hour in the case of scheduled trips of duration equal to or less than 4 hours; two hours in the case of scheduled trips of duration exceeding 4 hours but equal to or less than 8 hours; three hours in the case of scheduled trips of duration exceeding 8 hours, but equal to or less than 24 hours; or six hours in the case of scheduled trips of duration exceeding 24 hours; or
      • 50% of the ticket price in the event of a delay of more than twice the time indicated in the previous paragraph.

If the ticket is a round-trip ticket, the compensation for delay, whether on the outward or return trip, shall be calculated in relation to 50% of the price paid for the ticket.

Passengers holding a travel pass or season ticket who are repeatedly delayed during their period of validity may claim adequate compensation in accordance with the carrier's compensation provisions.

Carriers may set a minimum threshold below which no compensation shall be paid and this threshold may not exceed EUR 6.

Exemptions:

  • The right of passengers to assistance in the event of cancellation or delay of departures, as well as the right to re-routing and reimbursement in the event of cancellation or delay of departures and the right to compensation for the ticket price in the event of delayed arrival, shall not apply to passengers with open tickets as long as the departure time is not specified, except in the case of passengers holding a travel pass or season ticket.
  • The right to assistance in case of cancellation or delay of departures and the right to compensation for the ticket price in case of delay in arrival shall not apply to passengers who have been informed of the cancellation or delay prior to the purchase of the ticket or when the cancellation or delay is due to causes attributable to the passenger.
  • The right to accommodation and transport between the port terminal and the accommodation provided for under the right to assistance in the event of cancellation or delay of departures - in particular in paragraph 17.2 - shall not apply when the carrier proves that the delay or cancellation is due to weather conditions that make navigation dangerous.
  • Finally, the right to compensation of the ticket price in the event of delay in arrival (Article 19) shall not apply when the carrier proves that the delay or cancellation is due to weather conditions rendering navigation dangerous or to extraordinary circumstances hindering the performance of the passenger service which could not have been avoided even after taking all appropriate measures.

How to claim

  • Carriers and terminal operators must have an accessible mechanism for handling complaints under this Regulation.
  • The time limit to complain to the carrier or terminal operator for the rights set out above is 2 months from the date on which the service was performed or should have been performed. Within one month of receipt of the complaint, the carrier or terminal operator shall notify the passenger that his complaint has been dealt with or rejected or is still under consideration. The final response time may not exceed 2 months from receipt.

B) Passenger rights regulated in regulation 329/2009 and annex (Athens Convention)

When they apply

They apply in all international maritime transport and in all maritime transport within the same E.U. state on board class A and B ships.

Carrier's liability in case of passenger's death or injury

  • If the death or injury of the passenger is caused by a shipping incident (shipwreck, capsizing, collision, stranding, explosion, fire or defect of the ship) up to 250,000 SDRs (The Special Drawing Right is a unit defined by the International Monetary Fund. Its equivalent in Euros can be found on the Bank of Spain's website), unless such event is due to an act of war, hostilities, civil war, insurrection or natural phenomenon of an exceptional, inevitable and irresistible character; or is caused by an act or omission of a third party with intent to cause it.
  • If loss due to death or injury exceeds such amount, he shall be presumed liable unless he proves that the occurrence is not attributable to his fault or negligence, up to a limit of SDR 400,000 per passenger in each individual case.
  • If the death or injury of the passenger is not caused by a shipping incident, the carrier is liable if the incident which caused the loss is attributable to the fault or negligence of the carrier or its servants or agents acting in the performance of their duties. The limit of liability in this case is SDR 400,000 per passenger in each individual case.

Loss or damage to baggage

  1. The carrier is presumed liable if it is attributable to the fault or negligence of the carrier or its servants or agents if they were acting in the exercise of their duties.
  2. Its liability shall be limited: (i) for loss of or damage to cabin baggage, up to 2,250 SDRs per passenger per carriage; (ii) for loss of or damage to other articles of baggage, limited to 3,375 SDRs, with the possibility of such liability being subject to a deductible allowance not exceeding 149 SDRs; and (iii) for loss of or damage to vehicles carried, not to exceed 12,700 SDRs, with the possibility of such liability being subject to a deductible allowance not exceeding 330 SDRs.
  3. The carrier shall not be liable for loss of or damage to money, negotiable effects, gold, silver, jewelry, ornaments, works of art or other valuables, unless they have been delivered to the carrier and the carrier has agreed to take custody of them.

How to claim

1. The passenger must notify the carrier of loss or damage to baggage as follows:

  1. Visible damage sustained to baggage must be reported: (i) in respect of cabin baggage, before disembarkation or when the passenger is disembarked; and (ii) in respect of all other baggage, before or when it is returned.
  2. Invisible damage to or loss of baggage, notice must be given within 15 days after the date of disembarkation or return, or the date on which it should have been effected.

In the event that the passenger does not notify the loss or damage to his baggage in the manner set forth above, it shall be understood, unless proven otherwise, that he has received the baggage in good condition.

2. Legal actions to claim damages due to the death or injury of a passenger or loss of or damage to baggage shall be barred after two years, to be computed as follows: (i) in case of injury, from the date of disembarkation of the passenger; (ii) in case of death of the passenger occurring during carriage from the date on which the passenger should have disembarked and in case of injury sustained in the carriage which subsequently results in death, from the date of death, provided that this does not exceed 3 years from disembarkation; and (iii) in case of damage or loss sustained in baggage from the date of disembarkation or the date on which it should have taken place, whichever is later.

3. Advance payment: The carrier who performs, in whole or in part, the carriage during which the event that caused the death or injury of passengers due to causes inherent to navigation has occurred, shall pay an advance payment sufficient and proportionate to cover the immediate economic needs, within 15 days after identifying the person entitled to receive such amounts. In case of death, the advance payment shall in no case be less than 21,000 euros.

Documentation

Reglamento 1177/2010

Reglamento 329/2009

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