Access to shipping
Access to shipping is governed by international laws and standards. EU Regulation 1177/2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway will apply in the UK from 18 December 2012. The Regulation will provide disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility (PRMs) with the same opportunities to travel by water as they have in the rail and aviation sectors across the EU. The Regulation will thus standardise the basic rights, service and redress which they can expect. PRMs travelling on maritime routes will benefit from the increased ease and comfort associated with making journeys under the Regulation compared to the situation which exists at the moment.
Prior to the Equality Act 2010, provisions existed in anti-discrimination legislation that dealt separately with specific types of discrimination, harassment and victimisation on the basis of different protected characteristics. The main legislation in the case of service provision and exercise of public functions was the Sex Discrimination Act 1975; the Race Relations Act 1976; the Sex Discrimination Act 1986; the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, the Equality Act 2006, Part 2; and the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2007.
The Equality Act 2010 (the Commencement No. 4, Savings, Consequential, Transitional, Transitory and Incidental Provisions and Revocation Order) has saved the existing legislation in so far as it concerns a) transporting people by ship or hovercraft; and b) a service provided on a ship or hovercraft. However this is only to be regarded as a temporary measure until such time as the Regulations made under section 30 of the Act come into force.
However the scope and territorial application of existing legislation, insofar as it applies to ships and hovercraft, is in the majority of cases, far from clear and the need for clarity and uniformity in respect of the provision of services and the exercise of public functions in relation to vessels is, in the Government’s opinion, necessary. The Government is therefore currently consulting on proposals for implementing Part 3 (services and public functions) of the Equality Act 2010 in relation to transporting people by, or a service provided on, a ship or hovercraft. These proposals will ensure people receiving services onboard ships and hovercraft have, as far as it is reasonable to do so, the same protection from discrimination, harassment and victimisation as they would on land. The consultation closed on 7 April 2011.