Regulation (EU) no. 1177/2010 establishes the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and in- land waterway. In particular, such Regulation sets out the rights connected with non- discrimination between passengers with regard to transport conditions offered by carriers, the rights of passengers in cases of cancellation or delay and the rights of disabled persons and per- sons with reduced mobility.
We, however, do not intend to deal here with the scope of such rights, but just to emphasise the strict obligation incumbent on maritime carriers to inform passengers of such rights.
Article 23 of the above-mentioned Regulation provides that «carriers, terminal operators and, when applicable, port authorities, shall, within their respective areas of competence, ensure that information on the rights of passengers under this Regulation is publicly available on board ships, in ports, if possible, and in port terminals. The information shall be provided as far as possible in accessible formats and in the same languages as those in which information is generally made available to all passengers», with particular attention focused on the needs of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility.
In order to comply with the aforesaid obligation, carriers, terminal operators and, when applicable, port authorities, may use a summary of the provisions of Regulation (EU) No. 1177/2010 prepared by the European Commission in all the official languages of the institutions of the European Union.
In addition, carriers, terminal operators and, where applicable, port authorities shall also provide passengers with the contact details of the national body responsible for the enforcement of the Regulation.
In Italy, under Legislative Decree No. 129 of 29 July 2015, the Transport Regulation Authority is the body responsible for the enforcement of the Regulation. In these weeks, the Transport Regulation Authority is verifying the correct implementation of the Regulation by maritime carriers.
In particular, the Transport Regulation Authority is currently asking maritime carriers to provide in- formation and evidence (pictures) about the correct implementation of the requirement under Ar- ticle 23 of the Regulation.
This matter is of particular relevance, taking into account the fine applicable in case of breach of the aforesaid obligation, which ranges from Euro 150 to Euro 900 for each passenger13.
In addition, if carriers provide inaccurate, misleading or incomplete information, or fail to provide the requested information within the prescribed period, the Transport Regulation Authority will be entitled to assess such conduct an impose a fine of up to 1% of the turnover of the carrier con- cerned14.
To conclude, bearing in mind (i) the limited time allowed by the Transport Regulation Authority to fulfil the request for information (normally 30 days) and (ii) the heavy penalties mentioned above,particular attention should be paid to duly complying with the obligation under Article 23 of Regu- lation (EU) No. 1177/2010.