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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.

On 18 January 2017, a new European Regulation enters into force which makes it possible for creditors to freeze bank accounts of non-paying debtors in the whole European Union, with the exception of the United Kingdom and Denmark. It remains to be seen how this “European Account Preservation Order” will work out in practice, but in any event, it is a welcome addition to the procedural toolbox for cross-border debt recovery.

Smallegange Lawyers are pleased to announce that as per 1 January 2017, we welcome Willem Boonk as partner in our firm. Willem started his career as a lawyer in Rotterdam in October 2005. He joined Smallegange as a senior associate in May 2015.

The Rotterdam District Court informed us as follows. As of January 1st 2016 the Rotterdam District Court will allow certain types of civil cases to be conducted in the English language. The cases that will qualify for this pilot project are those involving maritime law, transport law and international sale of goods.

In its decision of 29 January 2016 de Dutch Supreme Court answered much discussed question in the literature whether the Supreme Court ruling in the so called “Hammock judgement” regarding liability of a co-possessor of a (defective) structure or building, also applies for the liability of a co-possessor of an animal.

Smallegange Lawyers are pleased to announce that Julian van de Velde has joined our firm as partner. Julian started his career in January 2007 as P&I Correspondent at Aus Ship P&I in Sydney, Australia. Subsequently, Julian moved to our firm in May 2008 when he started as lawyer. In 2011 Julian became associate.

On 1 January 2016, the new Dutch Maritime Accident Control Act (Wet bestrijding maritieme ongevallen, WBMO), entered into force. The new act replaces the North Sea Accident Control Act (Wet bestrijding ongevallen Noordzee, Wet BON) and provides for the implementation of the Nairobi International Convention on the Removal of Wrecks (2007) in the legislation of the Netherlands.

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.

Recently, the Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice published a draft bill, which provides for further concentration of the handling of shipping cases. Once this bill is adopted by parliament, court cases on shipping and shipping-related matters will all be handled by the Court of Rotterdam.

The Netherlands is one of the State Parties to the Convention on Limitation of Liability for Maritime Claims and its Protocol of 1996 (after this: LLMC). The provisions of the LLMC grant the ship owners (and other parties mentioned) the right to limit their liability for certain specified claims by constituting one or more limitation funds. The Netherlands has implemented the LLMC in articles 8:750 u/i 8:759 of the Dutch Civil Code.

Abovementioned question could be asked after reading to the recent decision of the Supreme Court of 16 January 2015 (ECLI:NL:HR:2015:83) between (a predecessor of) TVM in its capacity of motor liability insurer and its policy holder, a driver of a car involved in a collision with another car. The other car became damaged and the driver of that car injured.

The rules on the limitation period for collisions has already lead to many discussions. A recent decision of the Supreme Court will undoubtedly lead to many new discussions (HR November 21, 2014, ECLI:NL:HR:2014:3350). The Supreme Court has held that the limitation period of two years for collisions does not apply if the accusations made by claimant are of a different nature than those associated with the use of ships and when the cause of the damage is not on board of a ship.

In relation to the majority of the cargo that in the past was carried by ship, a Bill of Lading would be issued by the carrier. Therefore, Book 8 of the Dutch Civil Code contains several articles that relate to carriage of goods under a Bill of Lading. However, nowadays in case of the majority of the shipments that concern carriage of goods by ship no Bill of Lading is issued, but instead a Sea Waybill. The question is therefore what the consequences are if goods are carried under a Sea Waybill for the title to sue of the consignee and the relation between the carrier and the consignee. The Court of Rotterdam had to consider this in the recent Court case FRIO HELLENIC, 30 April 2014, S&S 2014, 131. Below we will touch on this question by discussing the judgment of the Court. In that respect we will first briefly touch on the characteristics of a Bill of Lading and Sea Waybill.

Introduction
It follows from the jurisprudence that the relationship between a stevedore and a vessel is not always rosy. Dutch judges often had to consider a in which a vessel was damaged during loading or discharging.
The Owner (or his underwriter(s)) will subsequently hold the stevedore responsible in order to receive payment for the damage sustained by the vessel. Recently, a similar court case of the District Court of Rotterdam was published (District Court of Rotterdam 27 November 2013, S&S 2013, 86). In this matter the District Court had to examine the question whether a stevedore was liable for the damage sustained by an inland vessel.