Regulation (EU) 1177/2010 establishes rules for the protection of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterways. The Regulation applies for passengers travelling by maritime services:
Sailing from an EU port;
Sailing to an EU port from a port outside the EU, if the service is operated by an EU carrier; and
On cruises where the port of embarkation is situated in a Member State. To note that in the case of cruises some exemptions apply in relation to rights on re-routing, reimbursement and compensation for delay in arrival.
The Regulation does not apply to certain categories of waterborne services, namely to:
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 3 persons;
Passenger services of less than 500 meters one way;
Excursion and sightseeing ships not propelled by mechanical means as well and most historical ships certified to carry up to 36 passengers.
Regulation (EU) 1177/2010 guarantees the following rights to passengers making use of maritime services falling within the scope of this Regulation:
Right to Information – passengers must be provided with adequate information on their rights both before and during their journey, including the contact details of national enforcement bodies and accessibility for persons with reduced mobility.
Right to non-discriminatory conditions – carriers and ticket vendors are not to impose any contract conditions or tariffs in a way to discriminate directly or indirectly against any person on the basis of their nationality or place of residence.
Right to care and assistance – in the case of cancellation or delay of 90 minutes or more, passengers are to be offered assistance, snacks and refreshments free of charge in proportion of the waiting time;
Right to Re-routing and Reimbursement - if there is a delay of more than 90 minutes passengers have a right to choose between a refund of the ticket price, and if applicable, a free return journey back to the original point of departure; or re-routing, under similar conditions, to the final destination at the earliest opportunity and at no extra cost.
Right to request partial compensation of the Ticket Price – depending on the time of arrival at the final destination passengers may request a compensation of either 25 -50% of the ticket price.
Rights of Disables Passengers and Passengers with Reduced Mobility – in addition to the general passenger rights, disabled persons and passengers with reduced mobility have the following rights:
Carriers/travel agents/tour operators cannot refuse a booking or refuse to provide a ticket or deny boarding to any person on the grounds of their disability or reduced
Information on alternative modes of transport should be provided in the case that it is not possible for the operator to carry the individual due to safety reasons;
Right to special assistance getting on or off a ship, changing ships, on board and at the port. This right is subject o the condition of the individual informing the carrier or terminal operator of their needs at least 48 hours in advance and of arriving at the designated place at the agreed time ahead of departure;
right to compensation for loss of or damage to mobility equipment, subject that the fault lies with the operator or terminal operator.
Right to submit complaints to carriers and National Enforcement Bodies – carriers and terminal operators must have a complaint handling mechanism available to all passengers.
Independent national bodies must be established in each Member State to ensure the enforcement of the Regulation and, where appropriate, the application of penalties. A list of the designated National Enforcement Bodies can be found here.
Further details about the applicable passenger rights can be found can be found on this link of the Your Europe portal.
Making a Complaint
If you are not satisfied with how your rights have been applied by an operator you must:-
first contact the carrier within two months of your journey;
briefly summarise your complaint - provide dates, any booking reference, details of anyone you may have spoken to and any relevant documentation, whilst keeping a copy of your documents; and
if the company does not send a final reply within two months, or you are not satisfied with the company's response, you can lodge a complaint with one of the National Enforcement Bodies within the EU Member States.
What is required to process a complaint
When submitting a complaint to MCCAA, passengers are requested to forward with their complaint any relevant documentation related to their claim including proof that an attempt has been made to resolve the issue with the operator.
As part of the individual redress provided by the Authority, once a complaint is submitted an acknowledgement is sent within 2 days of submitting the complaint. The Authority will review the case and will contact the operator on the complainant’s behalf giving him a timeframe to reply. Usually, a period of 15 days is allowed for complaint handling communication to take place, which period can be extended upon request from the complainant. The MCCAA will be reviewing the submissions made by the operator in the light of the applicable legislation. The outcome of the complaint handling mechanism is to reach to an amicable agreement between the parties. Complaints can be submitted by filling in the online form or by sending an email on the dedicated email address email@example.com.
Alternatively, you can submit your complaint to the MCCAA ADR Solution, which is the Residual ADR Body competent to handle disputes where there are no sector specific ADR entities. Full details on how to submit a dispute through the MCCAA ADR Solution is through the following link: https://adr.mccaa.org.mt/
Enforcement of Legislation
The Authority, depending on the type and amount of the complaints received, may conduct an investigation to determine whether there were any breaches of the Regulations and can initiate enforcement proceedings against the operator for breaches of the Regulation which can result in the imposition of sanctions. Such proceedings are commenced by means of judicial proceedings.