Carriage of Goods by Sea

Carriage of goods by sea is usually conducted under a sea waybill or a bill of lading. Generally, international regulations, like the Hague-Visby Rules, the Hamburg Rules and (eventually) the Rotterdam Rules, play an important role. These conventions contain rules on subjects like limitation and exclusion of liability, seaworthiness and the responsibilities of the carrier. Carriage by inland waterways is also subject to several laws and regulations, most importantly the CMNI convention. Smallegange Lawyers represents clients in both modalities.

Carriage of passengers

Many rules and risks play a role in the carriage of passengers. Therefore, it is very important to draft decent terms and conditions. Furthermore, one should be aware in what positions the passenger line and passengers are on the basis of (inter)national case law and regulations, like the Athens convention. A passenger can be confronted with damaged or lost luggage, personal injuries or delays. Passengers lines are usually able to limit their liability. Smallegange Lawyers assists and advises in drafting (general) conditions.


Smallegange Lawyers assists both charterers and shipowners in cases concerning time, bareboat and voyage charterparties. We have a lot of experience with (standard) charterparties and we have extensive knowledge in the legal fields charterers operate in.


Generally, collisions have several financial, personal and legal consequences. Questions arise about insurance coverage, the attribution of guilt, the recovery of the insurer and the possibilities of limiting liability, Smallegange Lawyers is prepared to take the necessary actions to deal with any irregularities.


Smallegange Lawyers advises shipowners, charterers and salvors on the subject of international regulations on salvaging. Usually, standard contracts like the Lloyd’s Open Form (LOF) are used. Smallegange Lawyers is familiar with all ins and outs of these forms and clauses like the ‘SCOPIC’-clause.

General average

When a ship or cargo is damaged during transport, one should be aware of the differences between particular average and general average. Particular average includes the costs and/or damages on the account of the owner of the damaged ship or the owner of the damaged cargo. On the other hand, general average is relevant when damage to a ship and/or cargo is sustained by actions with the purpose of saving the ship, its passengers and (the rest of) the cargo. Rules on general average can be found in the General Average Rules IVR 2006 (inland waterways) and the York-Antwerp Rules 2004 (transport by sea). If after contacting a loss adjuster you find yourself in need of additional legal assistance, feel free to contact Smallegange Lawyers.

Wreck removal

If a ship sinks in Dutch territorial waters, Dutch inland waterways or the Dutch Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the involved parties are confronted with several obligations concerning wreck removal and the relevant liabilities. These obligations can be found in the Nairobi Convention 2007, the Dutch statute on Wrecks (“Wrakkenwet”) and the Dutch statute on Preventing Maritime Accidents (“Wet Bestrijding Maritieme Ongevallen”). Smallegange Lawyers assists and advises on issues in this field of law.

Dangerous substances

Carriage of dangerous substances is strictly regulated and involves a wide ranges of obligations the carrier, shipowners and other involved parties should be aware of. Smallegange Lawyers advises on these rules and the relevant regulations, such as the IMDG-Code, the ADN and the ‘International Convention on Liability and Compensation for Damage in Connection with the Carriage of Hazardous and Noxious Substances by Sea’ (the HNS convention 1996/2010)

Heavy cargo

The carriage of heavy cargo is a special type of carriage of goods by sea. Usually specialized ships are used to carry hulls, ships and (parts of) drilling rigs and windmills. Smallegange Lawyers assists and advises on all issues relating to the carriage of heavy cargo.

Limitation of liability

When a shipowner is able to limit his liability, he has the option to constitute one or several limitation funds. The relevant rules can be found in the ‘Convention for Liability for Maritime Claims’1976/1996 (LLMC) and CLNI 1988/2012. Smallegange Lawyers advises and assists in all matters concerning the limitation of liability in carriage by sea cases as well as carriage by inland waterways.

Ship management

Smallegange Lawyers assists ship managers in a variety of cases. We also advise on contract and general conditions relating to ship management. When you are confronted with legal issues concerning ship management, feel free to contact Smallegange Lawyers.