Until recently it all seemed like ‘science-fiction’, however, the self-driving truck and the self-sailing ship are now turning into reality. In October of last year the tech company Otto, a subsidiary of ‘taxi-company’ Uber, carried out the first test drive with a self-driving truck. It was a 200 km drive in the state of Colorado, United States. The cargo: 50.000 cans of beer. The driver simply drove to the freeway where after he engaged the system and the software took over for him.

In October 2016 our firm was involved in summary proceedings in which the return and reduction of a bank guarantee was claimed. The facts of these proceedings were as follows. In 2007 Belgian buyers ordered an inland barge with a Belgian shipyard. When the building of the hull was ready it was noted by the buyers that the hull showed several deficiencies. The buyers therefore refused to take delivery of the hull. This eventually resulted in proceedings between the buyers and the shipyard in Belgium.

One of the services offered by Smallegange is arresting ships. If a client wishes to arrest a ship then Smallegange drafts an arrest petition through which the Court is requested to grant leave to arrest the ship. Prior to drafting the arrest petition Smallegange will then first determine pursuant to the applicable law and international conventions whether it is possible to arrest the ship. After the leave has been granted by the Court Smallegange will instruct the bailiff to arrest the ship.

In recent years it occurred several times that a ship collided into a bridge of which it was known that it would be replaced in the nearby future. For example the Dorkwerderbrug near Groningen has been hit several times in the past years. Also the Botlekbrug has recently been hit by a vessel. The building of the new Dorkwerderburg will be finalised at the end of 2015. The new Botlekbrug is already in use. In case such a bridge that is about to be replaced is hit by a ship, the question arises whether the owner of the bridge can claim payment of the costs that will be made in case the bridge would be permanently repaired or whether instead in view of the building of the new bridge only payment can be claimed of the costs made to temporarily repair the bridge.