Posted in General Legal Tips on 05 September 2018

In recent months there have been high profile ferry cancellations by Irish Ferries to France and England affecting thousands of passengers.  What are passengers entitled to in these circumstances? Or in circumstances where a departure is delayed.

Maritime Passenger Rights Regulation
Regulation (EU) 1177/2010 sets out Maritime Passenger rights.  The Regulation is similar to those in aviation, rail and bus/coach sectors.

The Regulation applies to passengers travelling on:

  • Maritime passengers service where the port of embarkation is in a Member State of the EU (e.g. Ireland).
  • Maritime passenger services where the port of embarkation is outside a Member State and disembarkation is in a Member State provided that the service is operated by a European Union carrier.
  • Cruises where the port of embarkation is in a Member State of the EU with exceptions’ on re-routing and reimbursement and compensation for delay in arrival.
  • A passenger ship which:

           (i) Is certified to carry more than 12 passengers;

           (ii) Has a crew responsible for the operation of the ship composed of 4

                or more persons;

           (iii) Is not an historical passenger ship certified to carry up to 36 passengers. 

  • A maritime journey that is more than 500 metres one way and is not an excursion or sightseeing tour (other than cruises).

Rights under the Regulation
In the event of a cancellation or delayed departure, passengers must be informed by the carrier (or where appropriate the terminal operator) as soon as possible and no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled time of departure, of the estimated departure time and estimated arrival time as soon as that information is available.

Where the departure is cancelled or delayed for more than 90 minutes, passengers have a right to assistance and to re-routing to an alternative sailing at the earliest opportunity or a full refund of the ticket price.  If additional expenses are incurred by the passenger with the re-routing i.e. fuel costs of driving to an alternative port these costs are recoverable.

In the case or a delay of more than 90 minutes, the carrier must provide snacks, meals or refreshments, provided they are available or can be reasonably supplied, and if necessary and physically possible, accommodation on board the vessel or ashore up to a cost of €80 per night for a maximum of three nights.

Depending on the scheduled duration of the journey and the delay experienced, compensation amounting to a quarter or half of the ticket price may also be due to the passenger from the carrier in the event of delayed arrival.

Exemptions
The right to accommodation does not apply if the delay or cancellation is caused by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship.

The right to compensation for late arrival does not apply if weather conditions or extraordinary circumstances adversely affected the performance of the service.

Also the right to assistance with re-routing and / or compensation does not apply if the passenger is informed of the cancellation or delay before the purchase of the ticket or if the cancellation or delay is caused by the fault of the passenger.

How do I make a complaint?
Passengers should first direct their complaint to the relevant ferry carrier or terminal operator.  Such complaints must be submitted within 2 months of the date on which the service was performed or should have been performed.

The carrier/terminal operator must respond to the passenger within 1 month to inform them whether the complaint has been upheld, rejected or remains under investigation; however, a final reply must issue within 2 months of the date of receipt of the passenger’s complaint.

If a passenger is dissatisfied with the reply received from the carrier or terminal operator and the complaint is not resolved, the passenger may appeal to the National Transport Authority, which is the designated enforcement body in Ireland.

National Transport Authority
Dún Scéine
Harcourt Lane
Dublin 2
D02 WT20
Tel: +353 1 8798300
www.nationaltransport.ie

Contact us at Cantillons Solicitors at +353 (0)21 -4275673 or info@cantillons.com if you would like more information.

* In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage of any award or settlement.


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