Since 18 December 2012, Regulation (EU) No 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 has directly applied Europe-wide in every Member State of the European Union.
In addition, in December 2012 the Federal Government adopted further national provisions for the transposition of the EU Regulation in Germany.
1. Scope of application
The European rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway apply in principle to passengers travelling with passenger transport undertakings or participating in cruises where the port of embarkation and/or disembarkation is situated in the territory of a Member State of the European Union.
2. Rights of passengers in the event of cancelled or delayed departures
a) Information about the times of departure and arrival
In the event of a cancellation or delay in departure, the carrier or the terminal operator must inform the passengers no later than 30 minutes after the scheduled time of departure of the estimated time of departure and arrival.
If departure is cancelled or is likely to be delayed by more than 90 minutes, the passengers are entitled to re-routing or reimbursement of the ticket price and, if appropriate, a return service free of charge to the first point of of departure.
As a rule, passengers have to be offered free of charge snacks, meals or refreshments in reasonable relation to the waiting time. If necessary and feasible, the carrier has to also offer the passengers adequate accommodation on board or ashore. However, the carrier may limit the total cost of accommodation ashore to 80 EUR per passenger and night and to three nights.
3. Re-routing and reimbursement of the ticket price
If a departure is cancelled or is likely to be delayed by more than 90 minutes, the carrier will immediately offer the passengers
either re-routing (at no additional cost) or
reimbursement of the ticket price and, if appropriate, a return service free of charge to the first point of departure.
4. Compensation in the case of delayed arrival
In the event of delayed arrival, passengers are entitled to compensation without losing their right to transport. The compensation ranges between 25 % and 50% of the ticket price, depending on the scheduled duration of the journey and the duration of the delay.
The carrier will not be liable if the passenger was informed of the cancellation or delay before buying the ticket, if the cancellation or delay was the passenger’s fault or if the cancellation or delay was caused by weather conditions endangering the safe operation of the ship or by extraordinary circumstances hindering the performance of the passenger service which could not be avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.
5. Rights of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility
a) Right to transport
There is a right to make a reservation and to be issued a ticket at no additional cost.
This does not apply if, due to the safety requirements in force and due to the design of the passenger ship or the port infrastructure and equipment, it is not possible to safely embark or disembark or to safely carry disabled people. In this case, carriers, travel agents or tour operators have to make all reasonable efforts to offer the person concerned acceptable alternative transport.
Moreover, carriers, travel agents or tour operators may require that a disabled person as well as a person with reduced mobility is accompanied by another person free of charge (this does not apply to cruises).
b) Right to information
The carriers and terminal operators must provide non-discriminatory access conditions for the carriage of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility and accompanying persons. In this context it has to be ensured that all essential passenger information, such as the conditions of carriage, the journey and the access conditions are available in a format which is suitable for and accessible to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility.
c) Right to assistance
Disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility are entitled to obtain certain assistance free of charge in ports, including for embarkation and disembarkation, and on board ships.
The carrier or terminal operator must be informed of specific needs for the carriage when concluding the contract for carriage at the latest.
The carrier will only have to provide assistance if the disabled person or the person with reduced mobility informs the carrier or terminal operator thereof at the latest 48 hours before the assistance is needed and presents himself at the designated point of contact no later than 60 minutes before the time of embarkation and/or no later than 60 minutes before the scheduled time of departure. If this is not the case in exceptional circumstances, the carrier and terminal operator will nevertheless make all reasonable efforts to make the journey possible.
d) Right to compensation
Moreover, disabled persons or persons with reduced mobility will receive financial compensation in the case of loss of or damage to their mobility equipment or other specific equipment.
This will not apply if the damage is not due to the fault or neglect of the carrier or the terminal operator.
6. Rights of passengers in the case of personal injury as well as loss of or damage to luggage in the event of an accident
In accordance with Regulation (EC) No 392/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 April 2009 on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents, passengers will, in principle, be entitled to compensation if a passenger is injured or even killed due to a so-called shipping incident, e.g. collision of ships, or due to a wrongful act of a carrier or if their luggage is damaged, lost or delivered with delay.
7. Enforcement of passenger rights
Passengers have the possibility of submitting a complaint to the enforcement body for the rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway established at the Federal Railway Authority in Bonn if they are of the opinion that their passenger rights were not observed during a journey by sea and a complaint submitted to the carrier has not been successful. The address is:
The enforcement body for the rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway will take action especially if it is found that the European and national rules governing the rights of passengers travelling by sea and inland waterway have been infringed.
8. Arbitration procedure
Furthermore, the passenger may contact a suitable arbitration entity under certain conditions in order to settle a dispute arising from a carriage by sea or inland waterway between a passenger and a transport operator out-of-court and by mutual agreement.
As a rule, disputes in connection with the violation of rights and obligations in accordance with Regulation (EU) No 1177/2010 or due to the loss of or damage to luggage or in the case of a delayed delivery of the luggage of a passenger or of other articles a passenger has worn or carried be settled in accordance with Regulation (EC) No 392/2009.
The intermodal arbitration entity for public passenger transport (Schlichtungsstelle für den öffentlichen Personenverkehr e.V. - söp) has been recognised by the Federal Government as the suitable point of contact for passengers. The address of söp is: