Maritime Passenger Rights during the COVID-19 Crisis
EU issues recommendation on Vouchers as an alternative to cash reimbursement during the Covid-19 pandemic
The European Commission has issued a recommendation on vouchers offered to passengers as an alternative to cash reimbursement for cancelled transport services in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The recommendation re-iterates the commission’s interpretative guidelines issued in March 2020 on cancelled travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. Passengers who have had their journey cancelled are entitled to a full refund. They must be offered a choice between a cash reimbursement or reimbursement in the form of vouchers.
For further information the full text of the interpretative guidelines and the Commission’s recommendation on vouchers please click here.
- Interpretative Guidelines on EU passenger rights regulations in the context of the developing situation with Covid-19
In the context of the developing situation the NTA offers the following advice to passengers.
If the operator cancels your journey:
The information available on the NTA Marine Passenger Rights web page continues to apply during the COVID-19 pandemic. In brief, if an operator cancels your journey you are entitled to be informed of this at the earliest opportunity and you must be offered either a full reimbursement or a re-routing under Regulation (EU) No 1177 / 2010. You are not obliged to accept vouchers.
In relation to compensation for delayed or cancelled journeys, the Regulation provides for exemptions in respect of compensation to passengers in what are termed “extraordinary circumstances”. The EU Commission considers that, where public authorities take measures intended to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, such measures are outside the carriers’ control and are caused by such extraordinary circumstances. Compensation will therefore not be payable by the carriers where their cancellation of a service is as a result of COVID-19.
If you cancel your journey:
The EU Regulations do not specifically address situations where passengers cannot travel and want to cancel a trip. Whether you are reimbursed by the carrier depends on the ticket type you have with the carrier.
Some operators are offering vouchers to passengers, who do not want to (or are not authorised to) travel any more as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19. These vouchers can be used by passengers for another trip with the same carrier within a time frame established by the carrier.
We advise all passengers to check with the operator’s terms and conditions.
Will my travel insurance cover me in this COVID-19 situation?
This will depend on the type of policy you have purchased and the terms and conditions attached to that policy. You should contact your insurance company or broker for assistance.
COVID-19 is an evolving situation and we will keep passengers updated on our website. We also advise passengers to check with operators directly regarding their journeys.
EU Passenger Rights Covid-19 Update 20th March 2020
In the context of the developing situation with Covid-19, the European Commission has issued Interpretative Guidelines on EU passenger rights regulations for all modes. For further information please see here.
Brittany Ferries Cancellation of Sailings Cork to Roscoff
Update 29th May 2019
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS IF AFFECTED BY BRITTANY FERRIES CANCELLATION OF SAILINGS ON THE PONT AVEN FROM CORK – ROSCOFF – CORK AND SAILINGS ON THE CONNEMARA FROM CORK – SANTANDER – CORK
The National Transport Authority as the designated enforcement body for the purposes of Regulation (EU) No. 1177/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 concerning the rights of passengers when traveling by sea and inland waterways and amending regulation (EC) No. 2006/2004 (the “Regulation”) is advising passengers that may be impacted by the above cancellations to consider their rights under the Regulation.
The rights of ferry passengers are legally protected by EU Regulation 1177/2010 . If your sailing is delayed or cancelled the carrier must offer you a choice between re-routing to the final destination, under comparable conditions as set out in the transport contract, at the earliest opportunity and at no additional cost
Full reimbursement of the ticket price.
Without losing the right to transport you may also be entitled to claim compensation in the event of a delay in arrival at the final destination as set out in the transport contract. The amount of compensation will depend on the scheduled duration of the journey and the delay experienced, the compensation being either 25% or 50% of the ticket price for the delay incurred.
The operator is not required to provide compensation if it can prove that the delay was caused by weather conditions which endanger the safe operation of the vessel or by extraordinary circumstances beyond its control, which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken
If you have been affected by the cancellations please contact Brittany Ferries directly regarding re-routing or reimbursement
If you wish to make a complaint to the carrier, you should do so in writing within two months from the date on which the service was performed or when a service should have been performed. Within one month of receiving the complaint, the carrier or terminal operator shall give notice to the passenger that his complaint has been substantiated, rejected or is still being considered. The time taken to provide the final reply shall not be longer than two months from the receipt of a complaint. You may also submit a complaint in writing directly to the National Transport Authority.
The National Transport Authority is continuing its enquiries into the circumstances giving rise to the cancellations that have occurred and their consequence so as to ensure that the provisions of the Regulation, where applicable, have been complied with.
National Transport Authority Makes Decision Concerning the Cancellation of Sailings on the WB Yeats Vessel in Summer 2018
The National Transport Authority (the “Authority”), as the National Enforcement Body for the enforcement of EU Regulation 1177/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 (the “Maritime Regulation”) has made a decision in relation to the cancellation of all summer 2018 sailings on the WB Yeats vessel, by Irish Ferries.
The Authority formed an opinion that Irish Ferries has failed and is failing to comply with (and has infringed and is infringing) Article 18 and Article 19 of the Maritime Regulation.
A copy of the Authority’s reasoned decision and the Notices served on Irish Ferries are available here. Irish Ferries are required to take the measure(s) outlined in Notices within a period of 2 months. Impacted passengers should contact Irish Ferries if the measure(s) relate to them.
Passengers who have been impacted by the cancellations may be entitled to payment of certain travel expenses (Article 18) and/or compensation (calculated by reference to the ticket price) in the event of delay in arrival (Article 19) under the Maritime Regulation, depending on the passenger’s circumstances.
The Authority’s decision is in relation to the rights of passengers under the Maritime Regulation. Nothing in the Maritime Regulation precludes passengers from seeking damages in accordance with Irish law in respect of loss resulting from cancellation or delay of transport services before national courts.
High Court Challenge to the NTA’s Decision in relation to the cancellation of passenger services on Irish Ferries ‘WB Yeats’ vessel during Summer 2018
The National Transport Authority (the “Authority”), as the National Enforcement Body for the enforcement of EU Regulation 1177/2010 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 (the “Maritime Regulation”) made a decision in relation to the cancellation of all summer 2018 sailings on the WB Yeats vessel, by Irish Ferries.
The Authority formed the opinion that Irish Ferries has failed or is failing to comply with and has infringed or is infringing Article 18 and Article 19 of the Maritime Regulation with regard to the cancellation of services on the WB Yeats vessel during Summer 2018 and served notices on Irish Ferries (the “Article 18 Notice” and “Article 19 Notice”) requiring Irish Ferries to take the measure(s) outlined in the Notices within a period of 2 months.
In March 2019, Irish Ferries sought and were granted leave by the High Court to bring proceedings challenging the decision of the Authority and the court put a “stay” on the Authority’s Decision, Article 18 Notice and/or the Article 19 Notice coming into effect pending the outcome of the proceedings.
These proceedings are on-going. An application by the parties to refer certain matters on the interpretation and applicability of the Maritime Regulation to the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union) was heard by the High Court, and the High Court decided on the 19th July to refer these matters to the CJEU. The Authority welcomes this early referral to the CJEU.
All ferry companies are still obliged to comply with Maritime Regulation. If you believe that a ferry company is not complying with the Maritime Regulation you may make a complaint to the Authority.
See attached link: http://www.transportforireland.ie/passenger-rights-complaint-form/