Passenger rights are being extended to people travelling by ferry or other seagoing vessels, who will enjoy the same rights as air and rail passengers under a new measure being brought in by the Minister for Transport, Tourism & Sport, Leo Varadkar. The National Transport Authority will assume responsibilities for enforcing passenger rights in the maritime sector from 18th December 2012.
“Passengers travelling by ferry or other seagoing craft will be able to enjoy similar rights and protections as those enjoyed by passengers in the aviation and rail sectors across Europe. These protections are particularly welcome for passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility,” the Minister said.
The new rights are designed to protect against discrimination and ensure equality of access to maritime passenger services.
The EU Regulation is designed to protect passengers using waterborne transport by establishing certain rights and a guaranteed level of service across the EU. It provides maritime passengers with enhanced rights to compensation and assistance when their journey is cancelled or delayed.
Passengers with disabilities or reduced mobility will also be protected against discrimination when booking a journey and, once appropriate notification is provided, they will be assured of assistance as required at embarkation and disembarkation as well as on board the ship.
The National Transport Authority already acts as the enforcement body for rail passenger rights. This role is now being extended into the maritime area, and will allow the Authority to further develop its expertise in the area of passenger rights.
Minister Varadkar recently signed Statutory Instrument 394 of 2012 into law to ensure that EU Regulation 1177/2010 will apply in Ireland from the 18 December 2012, when it is due to come into force. This Statutory Instrument provides for the Regulation’s introduction into Irish law and designates the National Transport Authority as the relevant national enforcement body.