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TRAVEL NEWS

Sweden to impose obligatory ID checks on ferries from next week

Sweden's government is to bring bring in obligatory ID checks for passengers arriving in Sweden by ferry, as it seeks to get a better control over refugees from Ukraine.

Sweden to impose obligatory ID checks on ferries from next week
Migration Agency staff and volunteers from Refugees Welcome Sweden await the arrival of Ukrainian refugees by ferry from Świnoujście in Poland at the ferry terminal in Ystad, southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

The new requirement will come into force on March 28th and will expire on September 1st. 

Sweden’s infrastructure minister, Tomas Eneroth, said that the requirement would “allow ferry companies to pass information to the Migration Agency and other other [agencies] on who is coming to Sweden so that we can ensure a good reception”. 

“There are indications that this would mean one could, among other things, stop trafficking,” he said. 

Ferry companies already need to collect passenger information for journeys over 20 nautical miles (37 kilometres), but ID checks are only required if there are suspicions that a passenger might have given false information. Now, this requirement is being changed, so that all passengers’ ID must be checked.

The reason ferry companies have to collect passenger information is to make sure the crew and rescue services know how many passengers are on board if there is an accident. 

Sweden’s government argues that this is even more necessary when so many people are taking ferries to flee war in Ukraine.

The country last week announced plans to bring back ID checks on buses, trains and ferries from April 8th, sending a new law for consultation that would be valid for three years. 

The plans have triggered widespread criticism from politicians in Skåne, who complain that new checks will make it harder for commuters between Sweden and the Danish capital, Copenhagen, and will deter cross-border integration. 

Member comments

  1. Does the return of ID-checking on ferries also apply to the one between Helsingör and Helsingborg? It’s hardly a route for refugees — Ukrainian or otherwise, — but mostly for commuters and shoppers.

    Or is that exempt because it’s less than “20 nautical miles”. I don’t believe the article was clear on that.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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