New ferry rules welcomed

Measures to protect and compensate passengers in the airline industry are extended to ferries

Measures to protect and compensate passengers in the airline industry are extended to ferries

BRITONS in the north of France have welcomed the introduction of new EU regulations guaranteeing minimum care and protection for ferry passengers.

The regulations complete ones that already exist for people travelling by train or air.

The president of the Amicale Culturelle Européenne group, fostering cultural and social links between the French and British in Normandy, Tom Hegarty, said: “This can only be positive and should energise the companies to be as efficient as possible. If a train is more than half an hour late, then the SNCF has to compensate you.”

The rules apply where you take a ferry (or other commercial ship like a cruise liner) which leaves from an EU country or where you travel from outside the EU but the destination is in the EU and the travel company is European.

They include:
● Adequate assistance such as snacks, meals, refreshments and, where necessary, accommodation for up to three nights, with a financial coverage up to €80 per night in case of cancellation or delay at departure of more than 90 minutes

● A guaranteed choice between reimbursement or re-routing in case of cancellation or delay at departure of more than 90 minutes

● Compensation, between 25% and 50% of ticket price, for delay at arrival

● Non-discriminatory treatment and specific, free-of-charge, assistance for disabled people, both at ports and on board

● Systems for handling passenger complaints to be put in place by carriers and terminal operators

● Appointment of independent national bodies in charge of enforcing the rules, including applying penalties.

Passengers involved in an accident when travelling by sea will have the right to:

● Financial compensation in the case of death, personal injury, and loss of or damage to luggage, vehicles, and mobility or other special equipment

● Advance payment (within 15 days) to cover immediate economic needs in case of death or personal injury

● Direct recourse against the carrier’s insurer in case of death or personal injury. Information about passenger rights is also downloadable on smartphones via a free application (see www.tinyurl.com/ferryrights.

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