York-Antwerp Rules

York-Antwerp Rules, which are a standard set of Rules relating to General Average. The Rules were first formulated in 1877. They have been revised on several occasions, and the present ones are those of 1994. They do not, however, constitute a complete or self- contained code and need to be supplemented by the general Common Law provisions which are applicable to the contract. Article V in the Schedule to the Carriage of Goods by Sea Act 1971 expressly provides that nothing therein “shall be held to prevent the insertion in a Bill of Lading of any lawful provision regarding General Average.” In the second half of the 19th century various international efforts culminated in the adoption of the York-Antwerp Rules of 1877. These rules established a uniform approach to the calculation of general average contribution and remain, as periodically amended, the most important source on general average. In practice most contracts of carriage of goods by sea incorporate the York-Antwerp Rules. The shipowner has to declare  General Average which sets in motion activity at the ship’s discharging port(s) where undertakings to pay their share (average bonds and average guarantees) have to be obtained from cargo owners before they can take delivery of their goods.  All (prudent) merchants take care to make sure their cargo insurance covers General Average.  Eventually average adjusters are brought in to calculate the precise share that each of the interested parties must pay.  It should not be overlooked that the additional work that the port agent has to undertake when General Average is declared both in disbursements and staff time are legitimate costs that have to be included in the total General Average expenditure.