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Passengers travelling by sea to receive compensation in case of accident


09 Dec 2008



Thanks to the European Parliament, maritime passengers in Europe will be sure to receive compensation in case of accident similar to air passengers.

This is the outcome achieved yesterday night following 3 years of intense negotiation between the European Parliament and the Member States on the third maritime safety package (Erika III). The agreement will have now to be voted in plenary by the European Parliament and confirmed by the Council.

Up until now, the only provisions on the ship-owners' liability were included in the Athens Convention signed in 1974 by the members of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and revised in 2002. However, these provisions were limited to transnational long routes, only (i.e. beyond 20 maritime miles, approx. 32 km of
distance). Furthermore, very few European countries have ratified the Convention.

As a result of this, currently European maritime passengers have little protection in case of accident. "Yesterday's agreement is a huge success for the European Parliament and citizens. Over the last year, the European Governments have resisted any attempt to extend the scope of these provisions to shorter distances and have tried to delay until after 2020 the entry into force of a EU Regulation to improve maritime passengers'

protection. Thanks to our determination, as from 2012 the provision set out in the Athens Convention will enter into force in all the 27 EU Member States", claimed Paolo Costa MEP (Partito Democratico/ALDE), Chairman and rapporteur of the European Parliament Committee on Transport.

The agreement means that maritime passengers will be entitled to a compensation up to a maximum of 287.500 € in case of death (or 460.000 € if there is a direct responsibility of the carrier), 2.587€ in case of loss or damage of their luggage; and 15.000 € for their vehicles. Moreover, the scope of these will be extended to all routes above 5 maritime miles and to domestic waters, too. "As a result of that, for example" explained Paolo Costa "the sea routes in Greece covered by these provisions will increase from 10 at present to 162 and passenger transport to Capri, Ischia, Isola d'Elba, Tremiti, Eolien islands and other popular Italian islands will also fall under this Regulation".

Finally, the European Commission will have to submit by the 30th of June 2013 a new proposal for further extending the scope of this Regulation to the routes below 5 maritime miles. "We believe that all European passengers travelling by sea should be granted the same level of protection, regardless of the distance covered by their journey", concluded Paolo Costa.

For more information, please contact:
Neil Corlett: +32-2-284 20 77 or +32-478-78 22 84
Paolo Alberti: +32-2-283 20 40 or +32-476-95 51 44