York-Antwerp Rules

In the majority of cases the procedures for defining and dealing with General Average are as laid down in a document called the York-Antwerp Rules, the current version of which was adopted in 1994.  Whenever a potential General Average situation arises, it is important that the ship managers quickly consult an experienced average adjuster who will advise on arrangements for collecting security from cargo interests etc.  A copy of York-Antwerp Rules 1994 is attached. Average Adjusters are firms of specialists who undertake the painstaking task of determining what expenses may justifiably be included in the General Average settlement. They also have to calculate the value at the material time (just before the accident) not only of the ship itself but of every piece of cargo in her.  A formidable task when one realises that in a modern cargo liner the number of separate consignments can run into several thousand. It would be the average adjusters’ job to arrange through their local correspondents or agents at destination for Cargo Interests, usually the consignees, to be contacted after a General Average declaration so that the necessary documentation can be arranged. The documents required to be collected are firstly an Average Bond signed by each of the consignees and either an Average Guarantee signed by the cargo insurers or the payment of a general average deposit where cargo is uninsured.  A copy of the commercial invoice for the cargo in question will also be necessary to show the value. In the fullness of time, maybe a year or more later when all costs and values have been fully analysed, the adjusters will prepare a General Average statement.  This will split the total allowable GA expenditure into shares in proportion to the value of ship, cargo and bunkers involved. Each party is then called upon to pay their share or General Average contribution to the GA fund which is in turn redistributed to the parties who incurred the sacrifice, usually the ship owner and those Cargo Interests whose cargo may have been lost or damaged in the common interest.  Many owners’ hull policies contain a “partial waiver” clause whereby hull underwriters agree to pay cargoes’ GA contribution up to a certain amount; this is designed to speed up the adjustment process when relatively small sums are involved.