Categories: a-port-information, BusinessPublished On: 04.11.20221821 words9.2 min read

Sample template of assistance quality standards (for disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility)

This is a sample statement for a outlining how a carrier or operator should present its quality standards for disabled people and people with reduced mobility needs. It contains sample wording and guidance on what to include in your statement.

1. Scope of application – general provisions

These Assistance Quality Standards for Disabled Persons and Persons with Reduced Mobility (hereinafter referred to as “the Quality Standards”) represent an integral part of the General Terms and Conditions of Carriage of Passengers and their Luggage by Sea (hereinafter referred to as “the Conditions”).

The terms used throughout the Quality Standards that have been defined in the Conditions, retain the meanings assigned to them therein.

The Standards are laid down to implement the provisions of Regulation (EU) of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 November 2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway and amending Regulation (EC) No. 2006/2004 (OJ.EU.L.2010.334.1, as amended). Article 13 Merchant Shipping (Passenger Rights) (Amendment etc.) (EU exit) Regulations 2019.

The Quality Standards determine the scope of minimal assistance provided by the Carrier to disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility (hereinafter referred to as “Disabled persons” on board the Carrier’s vessel during a journey, including embarking and disembarking.

The Carrier offers the Disabled person services subject to the rules set out in the Conditions, taking the following provisions into account. The Carrier shall not charge the Disabled person extra fees for the provision of the assistance described by the Quality Standards.

The Disabled person, or a person who is making a reservation on their behalf, must notify the Carrier of their needs as regards the provision of service in the manner and by the mode as set out in the Conditions at least 48 hours prior to a journey. If 48 hours’ notice is not given, the Carrier will still make all reasonable efforts to provide the passenger with assistance.

2. Assistance on arrival at the port, embarkation and disembarkation

Upon arriving at a port, the Disabled person should notify the Carrier of their arrival. Details of where to announce their arrival will be given to the passenger when they notify the Carrier of their need for assistance 48 hours or more before travelling. In addition, appropriate signage will make clear where passengers requiring assistance should proceed to.

The Carrier will, when notified of the need for assistance either before or at the point of travel, inquire in a polite and sensitive manner as to the nature of the assistance which the Disabled person will require.

If, on arriving at the port or when embarking or disembarking, the Disabled person is being assisted by an accompanying person, the Carrier should make the relevant arrangements such that the accompanying person can remain with the Disabled person in order to provide the necessary assistance.

2.1 Foot passengers

For Disabled persons travelling on foot, upon arriving at the assistance point the Carrier will ensure the timely attendance of a properly trained member of staff to provide assistance. The staff member will provide the Disabled person with the assistance necessary to:

  • move from the assistance point to the check-in counter, if any, or to the ship
  • check in and register baggage, if necessary
  • if required, make their way to the toilet facilities (if any)
  • proceed from the check-in counter, if any, to the ship, through emigration and security points
  • embark the ship, with the provision of lifts, wheelchairs or other assistance needed, as appropriate

Once embarked, the Disabled person will be shown to their seat or cabin and introduced to the member of the on-board crew who will assist them throughout the journey, if distinct from the person who helped them onto the ship. Information will be provided about the location of toilets and other facilities, how to call for assistance, what to do in case of emergency and the process for disembarkation.

2.2 Passengers travelling by vehicle

If the Disabled person is travelling with a vehicle, they should follow the instructions received from the Carrier when they gave notice of their need for assistance. If no instructions were given in advance the Disabled person should follow the regular vehicle boarding process and inform the first member of staff which whom they interact of their need for assistance.

The Disabled person will be provided with a sign for a priority parking space on the vehicle deck near the lift. The Carrier will confirm the Disabled person’s need for assistance in getting out of car on the ship and provide directions to embarkation lanes (where a marshal will direct car to correct lane).

If it is necessary for passengers to exit their vehicle before boarding in order to, for example, comply with any check in or security requirements, the Disabled person will be made aware of this and will be given assistance as if they were a foot passenger as described above.

The Carrier shall make sure the Disabled person’s car is placed on board according to their needs, in particular having regard to the distance to a lift and the duration of the journey in question. Once the car is placed on board, a trained staff member will provide assistance, as required and agreed with the Disabled person, to reach a lift and reach the reception desk and cabin or seating.

At this point the Disabled person will be introduced to the member of on-board crew who will assist them throughout the journey, if distinct from the person who helped them to this point. Information will be provided about the location of toilets and other facilities, how to call for assistance, what to do in case of emergency and the process for disembarkation.

3. Assistance on board

Once on board a crew member will provide the Disabled person with the assistance necessary to:

  • proceed from the ship door to their seat or cabin
  • store and retrieve baggage on the ship
  • proceed from their seats to the ship door
  • if required, make their way to the toilet facilities (if any)

During the journey, the Disabled person will be provided with such assistance necessary to get from their cabin or seating area to the toilets and back. Assistance will only be provided to get to and from the toilets – staff will not provide assistance to use the toilet.

If a Disabled person will need specialist assistance during the course of a journey, such as if they cannot use the toilet unaided, they must be accompanied by a person who can give them the required assistance.

All service providers and sales outlets, along with restaurants and other services as offered on board a ferry, are accessible to the Disabled persons.

The Carrier shall assign the Disabled person a cabin or seating suitable for their needs, subject to constraints arising from availability. In most cases the cabins or seating designed for the Disabled persons will be close to lifts and the reception desk, as well as fitted with relevant signalling for the Disabled persons. If the Disabled person is being assisted by an accompanying person, then the Carrier will ensure that each are allocated a cabin or seating as close together as possible.

In an emergency or should evacuation be necessary, the crew of a ferry will first provide assistance to Disabled persons. The assistance relates to both putting on a life jacket and all the stages of evacuation.

3.1 Assistance dogs

If the Disabled person is accompanied by an assistance dog, the dog is to be assigned lodgings together with the Disabled person at no extra cost. On board a ferry the Carrier will provide a spending area for assistance dogs.

4. Disembarkation

4.1 Foot passengers

At the point of disembarkation, the Disabled person will be met at an agreed place and given assistance to:

  • disembark from the ship, with the provision of lifts, wheelchairs or other assistance needed, as appropriate
  • retrieve baggage, if necessary, and proceed through immigration and customs points
  • proceed from the baggage hall or the disembarkation point to a designated point of exit

4.2 Passengers travelling by vehicle

At the point of disembarkation, the Disabled person will be met at an agreed place and given assistance to return to their vehicle. The vehicle can then follow the standard disembarkation process.

5. Carriage of mobility equipment

The Carrier will carry mobility and certain medical equipment subject to safety considerations. Staff will provide the Disabled person with instruction regarding the storage and operation of devices necessary for moving, including wheelchairs with electric drive.

Carriers and terminal operators shall be liable for loss suffered as a result of the loss of or damage to mobility equipment or other specific equipment used by a Disabled person if the incident which caused the loss was due to the fault or neglect of the carrier or the terminal operator. The fault or neglect of the carrier shall be presumed for loss caused by a shipping incident. The compensation will cover the cost of a replacement or, where appropriate, the cost of carrying out repairs.

In addition, in case of damage to or loss of mobility equipment, the Carrier will temporarily make alternative equipment available to them.

6. Providing information

Essential information regarding embarkation and disembarkation will be made available in accessible formats. The Carrier will endeavour to provide other non-essential information in accessible formats where possible.

7. Standards of assistance to Disabled persons

The Quality Standards govern a minimum level of assistance, the Carrier undertakes to provide to the Disabled persons. However, the Carrier shall take measures aimed to continually raise the standards of the subject assistance.

The Carrier will undertake regular assessments of the assistance given to Disabled persons to monitor the service standards and keep improving. The above will be achieved by:

  • registering the Disabled persons; (Disabled passengers have to right to opt in and out of registration, if they opt in operators need to ensure details are used in compliance with GDPR rules)
  • registering complaints filed with regard to the attendance to the Disabled persons
  • active engagement with institutions that handle matters of the Disabled persons
  • passenger satisfaction surveys

To ensure the best possible service and assistance for Disabled persons, the Carrier will organise regular staff training with respect to catering for needs of people with diverse types of disability or impaired mobility; equal treatment; and disability awareness. All staff who interact with passengers from the booking process right through to those working on board will undergo such training.

Any comments relating to the service provided, including the assistance offered to Disabled persons, should be sent to the Carrier at:

  • address
  • email
  • telephone

Any complaints should be addressed to the Carrier in the first instance. Where the passenger is not satisfied with the response received, they can refer their complaint to the designated voluntary Complaint Handling Body (CHB). If, after the CHB have considered the complaint, the passenger may refer their complaint to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

MCA: Sample template of assistance quality standards