On 29 July 2016, the European Commission launched a public consultation, which will last for 13 weeks, on the Regulation (EC) No. 392/2009 on the liability of carriers of passengers by sea in the event of accidents.

This Regulation is intended to:

– ensure that passenger rights are protected in case of accidents, both in international (between two or more States) and in national carriage (within a single State);

– create a level playing field for operators promoting good practices and responsible behavior;

– encourage increased safety and security performance of passenger transport operators;

– assist in setting up and complementing a balanced framework of passenger rights protection, including the right to information, special compensation for passengers with reduced mobility, and the right to advance payments.

To achieve these objectives, the Regulation establishes liability without need to prove fault for passenger carriers in case of a shipping incident; raises the limits for compensation of passengers following accidents, including the possibility for an advance payment to cover immediate needs following death or personal injury of passengers; obliges passenger carriers to have insurance; allows passengers to claim compensation directly from the carrier’s insurer.

The consultation, which will end on October 31, may be of particular interest for passengers travelling by sea, owners and operators of passenger ships, insurers providing cover to passenger ships, maritime administrations of flag States or port States concerned with passenger carriage by sea, as well as any other organization or person interested in passenger carriage by sea. If interested in providing more specific inputs, in addition to this public consultation, the participants can also fill a targeted survey questionnaire.

The questionnaire is composed of three sections. The first section concerns general information about the respondents. The second part contains specific questions on the application of the EU passenger carrier’s liability regime, and is divided into five different sub-sections for each type of respondent. The third section is about further additional information.

In the context of this consultation, the Commission will address the following aspects: (i) relevance to the original objectives of the Regulation; (ii) the EU added value compared to what could have been achieved in the absence of an EU intervention (i.e. by Member States at the national or regional level); (iii) effectiveness of the rights and obligations and compensation schemes; (iv) efficiency in relation to the costs incurred and benefits achieved or expected; (v) coherence both internally and with other EU policy interventions.