Antwerp Rules

General average is an extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure voluntarily and reasonably made or incurred in time of peril to preserve property imperilled in the common adventure.  In general average a shipowner may be able to pass on, to cargo owners, certain expenses which result from the casualty which can include payments for loading and discharging cargo at a port of refuge as well as temporary repairs and towing costs. Without the need to show liability in tort or contract, the loss can be rateably spread among the parties participating in the marine adventure during which the loss occurred. General average depends on there being a “general average act” within the governing definition but in practice general average will be declared at the end of the voyage. A clause is frequently inserted in a contract incorporating the York-Antwerp Rules which are the standard set of rules relating to the procedure for adjusting general average. This process is carried out by Average Adjusters whose task is to determine what expenses shall be acceptable under the general average and the amount to be borne by each party.  This can be an extremely complex exercise in the case of a general cargo carrier with many hundred different cargo owners involved. The present rules are the York-Antwerp Rules 1994; a copy of these rules may be found in Appendix 7:1. There can be no general average unless there is extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure; the danger must be common to the whole adventure. To give rise to a claim for general average contribution: There must be a common danger which must be real and not merely apprehended by the master. In Nesbitt v Lushington (1792) a ship was stranded on the coast of Ireland and the inhabitants compelled the master of the vessel to sell the cargo of wheat at less than its value.