Shipping companies in the country were recently reminded to promptly inform their passengers on the status of their voyages in cases of cancelled or delayed trips.
Through an advisory, the Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), reiterates the observance by ship operators of their obligations relating to the rights of passengers in cases of cancelled, delayed, or uncompleted voyages.
Shipping companies were urged to “communicate to their confirmed passengers at the fastest available means appropriate information about the status of their voyages, particularly cancelled or delayed voyages.”
The agency also reminded ship operators about the rights of passengers to refund, revalidate a ticket, and their obligation to provide amenities such as free meals, access to first aid and medicine, access to communication facilities and services, or accommodation as necessary which is stated under the MARINA Circular (MC) 2018-07 regarding a passenger’s Right to Refund, Right to Revalidate Ticket, and Right to Amenities in the event of a cancelled or delayed voyage.
Refunds of the fare should also be granted without any further deductions or additional charges, if the passenger chooses to do so even with the option of revalidating their tickets for future use.
Passengers may cite their right to refund regardless of the nature or cause of the cancellation or delay.
According to MARINA, ship operators may only deny refunds or revalidation of tickets if the cancellation or delay of their trip can be attributed to the fault of the passenger.
“Ship operators who fail to comply will be held liable in accordance with the provisions of MC 2018-07 and the MARINA Revised Rules of Practice and Procedures. This applies especially to cancellations or delays without prior information provided to the passenger, which are caused by the travel restrictions imposed as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the agency said.