A ferry operators’ trade association has welcomed EUplans for a voluntary Digital Green Certificate to facilitate safe travel during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interferry, representing ferry operators worldwide, is now urging other countries to consider something similar for international travel in time for the peak summer season.

The DGC proposal was announced last month by the EU’s executive arm - the European Commission (EC) - and is being fast-tracked by the European Parliament, with the target of being adopted by June 2021.

Noting that the ferry industry is highly dependent on summer passenger revenues, Interferry emphasises that operators incurred unsustainable losses during 2020 lockdown restrictions, when the initial ban on all but essential travel saw an immediate drop of 75-100 per cent in passenger traffic. Interferry believes that early adoption of the voluntary initiative is crucial to international ferry operators to avoid the prospect of losing a second consecutive peak season. It is also valuable to passengers because it provides greater assurance of streamlined travel.

Interferry CEO Mike Corrigan comments: “We support this initiative and believe similar aims should be embraced not only within the EU, but also worldwide for international ferry travel. Such an initiative does not stop people travelling if they don’t have a certificate, but it will make travel procedures far easier for those who have this documentation.”

The certificate – available free of charge in digital or paper format -- would prove that travellers have been vaccinated against COVID-19, or received a negative test result or recovered from the disease.

By Jake Frith