Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA) yesterday urged shipping companies to adhere to the passenger’s rights in case of cancelled, delayed or uncompleted voyages caused by the new coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.
Following the subsequent declarations by various local government of different levels of community quarantine as a precautionary measure against the spread of the coronavirus, the MARINA asked shipping companies to communicate to their confirmed passengers at the fastest available means appropriate information about the status of their voyages, particularly cancelled or delayed voyages.
Under the MARINA circular (MC) 2018-07, the passenger has the right to refund and to revalidate a ticket, and the right to amenities in the event of a cancelled or delayed voyage.
MARINA further reminds ship operators to provide amenities such as free meals and access to first aid/medicine, communication facilities and services, or accommodation, as necessary.
Refunds of the fare or ticket price should also be granted without any further deductions or additional charges, if the passenger chooses to do so even with the option of revalidating the ticket for future use.
Passengers may cite their right to refund regardless of the nature or cause of the cancellation or delay. Ship operators may only deny refunds or revalidation of tickets if the cancellation or delay of the trip can be attributed to the fault of the passenger.
Ship operators that fail to comply with these provisions 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 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.