By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
To intensify and ensure the protection of the public against inefficient shipping services, the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) reminds shipping operators to uphold passengers rights at all times, especially in cases of cancelled, delayed, or uncompleted voyages.
In a statement, Marina said it clearly established the rights of passengers’ in cases of cancelled, delayed, or uncompleted voyages through MARINA Circular No. 2018-07 addressed to all owners and operators of inter-island passenger liner ships.
In the Marina Circular, the agency emphasized that all passengers of a cancelled or delayed trip have the right to information, right to refund or revalidation of ticket, right to amenities, and right to compensation.
Trips are considered cancelled if it has been called off to more than 24 hours from the scheduled departure or to an indefinite date and time. This also covers trips where passengers have been denied boarding due to overbooking or errors in booking.
If the voyage involved late departure from the point of origin resulting to late arrival in the port of destination not exceeding 24 hours from the scheduled departure or arrival of the ship, it is considered delayed.
Moreover, Marina said that passengers of an uncompleted voyage or any trip that commenced but failed to reach its port of destination have the right to information, right to comparable transport to intended destination or to a place nearest thereto, right to amenities, and right to compensation.
MARINA, however, also noted that these rights are absolutely applicable to passengers only if the cancelled, delayed, or uncompleted voyage is caused by the shipping operator. These are not applicable if the unfortunate event is caused by the passengers themselves.
Also, some rights have relative application. The right to amenities and the right to compensation apply only if the cancellation, delay, or non-completion of the voyage is attributable to the operator. These do not apply if it is of passenger’s fault or there were extraordinary circumstances that occurred such as port traffic/congestion or receipt of orders from competent authorities. It will also not apply if the cause is a fortuitous event like a natural calamity or any incident involving government intervention.
Furthermore, the right to refund or revalidation of ticket applies for both cancelled and delayed voyages regardless of the cause, including extraordinary circumstance or fortuitous event. The only exception is if it is of passenger’s fault.
Finally, Marina said the right to comparable transport only applies to cases of uncompleted voyages, even if the event is caused by a fortuitous event.
Passengers are encouraged to refer to the whole text of the Marina Circular 2018-07 for complete details on these rights and on the circumstances entitling them to exercise or avail of such rights.
The public is further encouraged to report non-compliance to Marina Circular 2018-007 by filing a complaint to the nearest MARINA office for appropriate action.
If found guilty of non-compliance, the shipping operator will be fined P100,000 for each voyage for the first offense; P200,000 for each voyage and a five-day suspension of operations for the second offense; and P300,000 for each voyage and a ten-day suspension of operations for the third offense.