It is not uncommon these days for people to share the spendings of a group equally. For example, for a group of five friends having lunch together, they share the bill in five equal parts. Each one contributes one fifth of the total amount.

Or for example three to four people sharing a ride back home from office.

share-a-cab York Antwerp rules

This is so easy. Right ? Dividing the fare or food bill is easy and everyone saves some money. But this looks easy because of two reasons.

One because the amount is divided in equal parts. And second because the money involved is not so big to draw a controversy. It would be much more difficult to draw an average if one person said that he has eaten less so he should pay less.

Or for that matter one person said he weighs less so he will pay less for the cab ride.

Oh!! I was supposed to talk about York Antwerp rules, right ? Why am I even talking about sharing a ride and food bill.

Well the York-Antwerp rules are also about sharing the expenditures with certain conditions attached.

Take this example.

A hold on a bulk carrier with cargo in it catches fire. The hold is flooded with water to extinguish the fire and to avoid the fire spreading in other parts of the ship.

We have saved the ship and we have saved the cargo in other holds of the ship. What have we lost ? The cargo loaded in one hold.

Now who would pay for the cargo lost in this case ?

Both the cargo interests as well as the ship owner has saved themselves damages which could have been more. If it was up to me and you to decide, it could be almost impossible to draw a balance on who should pay how much. After all it isn’t as simple as averaging for the food bill or cab fare.

This is what York Antwerp rules aims to do. The process of averaging the contribution of each party (who benefitted) to make up one party’s loss (Sacrifice as well as expenditures) is called “general average“.

General average is based upon the principle

That which has been sacrificed for the benefit of all shall be made good by the contribution of all


So not all sacrifices and expenditure qualify to be averaged and shared by other parties.

York Antwerp rules sets the guidelines of which all sacrifices and expenditures can be included during “General Average” and which all cannot.


How General Average works ?

Let me give an example. A loaded ship is hijacked in Somalian waters and pirates demanded the ransom for release of the ship. After much of negotiations the ransom was brought down to 30,00,000 (3 Million) US dollars.

The ransom amount was delivered and the ship was released. Let us see the break up of total expenses incurred in releasing the ship.


Now who do you think will pay this huge amount ?

The principle of general average says that all the parties that benefit from this sacrifice of the ship owner should pay. But how much each one need to pay ?

Cargo owner who had small parcel on board the ship should not pay same as other cargo owners who had huge amount of cargo on board.

So the break up need to be in proportion of how much each party saved from this sacrifice.

As per general average, each party will pay the same percentage of amount that they have saved. For example of the total value saved, 60% belongs to the ship owner. So ship owner need to contribute 60% of the expenditures or amount sacrificed.

Here are the general average contributions from each party in this example.


Now in this example, I have over simplified this for the sake of understanding but in realty these calculations can be extremely complex.

Some can even argue if the ransom paid for piracy can give rise to claims under general average ? All this may not be that simple.

For example it may be that ship was taken to Somalia and then upon release ship joined its planned route after one day sailing.

In this case the ship owner’s expenses like fuel cost and ship staff’s wages etc for this period also need to be shared.

But if we do not have a pre defined set of rules, the cargo owners may refuse to share the fuel costs or crew wages. They may say that we will only share the ransom amount.

So there need to be rules which each party will agree upon before the start of voyage. These rules already exists and are known as “York Antwerp rules”.

York Antwerp rules

The first version of York Antwerp rules were issued in 1890. But it was second version of York Antwerp rules that got much of applaud. Even though the latest version of the rules were issued in 2004, most companies use 1994 version of the rules.

Recently a new version of rules were issued in 2016.

York Antwerp rules has two sections. First section has rules that are identified by the letters (Rule A, Rule B .. ). These rules give general guidelines on what can be included in the general average.

Second section has rules that are identified by numbers (Rule I, Rule II .. ). These rules give specific situations, sacrifices and expenditures that can be included in the general average.


Let is discuss few of the important rules.

Rule Paramount

While all the rules in York Antwerp rules are named either with a number or an alphabet, this one rule is named differently. This is because this rule is paramount to all the rules.


Sacrifices made by ship owners should be reasonable and they cannot over spend. For example let us say the vessel was towed even when the ship’s engine were working.

This would be considered as “not -reasonable” and this amount will not be included in the general average.

What is General average act (Rule A)

What expenditures will be shared by all parties ? When we talk about general average and York Antwerp rules, this is most important question.

If ship owner places armed guards on board, can this be considered as general average act ? Will these expenses be shared between ship owner and cargo owners ?

Rule A of the York Antwerp rules defines the limits of general average act. It says

There is a general average act, when and only when, any extraordinary sacrifice or expenditure is intentionally and reasonably made or incurred for the common safety for the purpose of preserving from peril the property involved in a common maritime adventure

So there are four essential requirements for an action to fall under General average.


1. The expenditure or sacrifice need to be extraordinary

The ship owner is bound by his duty to deliver the cargo safely at the destination. There is nothing extraordinary in any actions that a ship owner performs to fulfill this duty.


This also answers my earlier question if placing the armed guards would come under general average act. It won’t. Ship owner is placing the armed guards to fulfill his duty of delivering the goods safely.

2. The act must be intentional

If the ship ran over a wreck and to release the ship a part of ship or the wreck need to be cut away. The expenditure involved in this will not come under general average because this was not intentional.

Jettisoning part of cargo to re-float the ship or flooding the water in a hold to extinguish the fire are intentional acts.

3. The Action must be for the common safety

Let us understand the term “Common safety: with an example.

Let us say a container ship has few of the refrigerated containers. The referigeration system of the ship failed and ship had to be diverted to a nearest port for repairing it to avoid damaging this cargo.

Will the expenditures incurred by the ship owner in this case come under general average ?

No, because the action is only for saving part cargo and not for the common safety of ship owners and for other cargoes loaded on ship.

For the general average, the action has to be for the common safety.

The action of Jettisoning some cargo to avoid sinking of entire ship is for common safety.

4. There must be a peril

If the master jettison a cargo to save the ship from sinking, it is a peril. But if the master jettison the cargo because he feels that the ship is overloaded, is not a peril.

Dictionary meaning of “peril” is “Grave danger”. If there is no grave danger, general average cannot apply.

But in the context of York Antwerp rules and General average, the interpretation of grave danger can be different.

In fact that is the difference between “a ship in distress” and “a ship in peril“.

For example take a ship that has broken engine in the mid sea with calm weather. The ship is not in distress but the ship is in peril.

General average Sacrifices

The sacrifices that can be made and are included in the general average fall under three categories.


The numbered rules gives the examples of the sacrifices that can be included in the general average.

Jettison of cargo: Jettison of cargo will include in the general average if the cargo was carried as per customary trade. For example if the deck cargo was loaded on a ship that is not allowed to load on deck, sacrifice of such cargo will not include in the general average.

Extinguishing fire: General average will include the damages (to ship or the cargo) because of extinguishing fire on board.

Voluntary stranding: Damage and loss because of intentional stranding in “common safety” is allowed to be included in general average.

General Average Expenditures

Apart from the sacrifices, one party may spend lot of money in the common interest of saving the ship and the cargo. As per York Antwerp rules, these expenditures also can be included in the general average.

Some of these expenditures can be

  • Salvage expenses
  • Port of refuse expenses
  • Wages of master and crew during the prolongation period because of port of refuse
  • Fuel during the prolongation period because of port of refuse

No general average for environmental pollution (Rule C)

As per Rule C of the York Antwerp rules, the costs involved in handling environmental pollution cannot be included in the general average.

This is a logical rule as if the general average was to include the environment damage claims, it would have taken the domain of the general average too far.

It does not matter whose fault it is (Rule D)

Let us say a vessel ran aground. The vessel had to sacrifice (Jettison) some of the cargo to re-float it. As per rule D, the cargo owners cannot claim that the grounding was due to the fault of ship owners and they would not contribute to the general average.

Irrespective of the fault which led to the event (in this case grounding), all parties have to contribute to the general average.

But this will not be the case if the ship was unseaworthy. If the grounding resulted because the vessel was unseaworthy, then ship owner cannot benefit from the general average.

In spite of the rule D of the York Antwerp rule, US law does not allow the navigation fault of the ship owner to be neglected. As such most of the ship owners make sure to include “new Jason Clause” in the bill of lading and charter party agreement.


Application of York Antwerp rules and General average

In most countries these rules do not have any legal force in themselves. The York Antwerp rules and principle of general average have legal force only if these are included in the bill of lading or charter party agreement.

If you get to see an actual bill of lading, read the term, conditions and clauses on the back side. Most likely you will find a clause regarding York Antwerp and General average there.


Recovery of general average contribution

In “taxi fare” example, if one person refuse to pay his share what options one can have to recover it.

May be we can let it go as the amount will not be that big.

In the perils at sea, in most of the situations it will be ship owner who would make sacrifices and expenditure to come out of these situations.

So how can a ship owner ensure that everyone will contribute to general average amount that ship owner should get.

In the maritime law a ship owner has the lien on the cargo for the general average contribution. So ship owner will only release the goods once he receives a guarantee that he will get his dues. This guarantee can be in form of

Role of Average adjuster

Don’t go by the name. Average adjuster are not average people. They are the expert in one field of marine insurance, that is general average.

During a general average situations, usually a average adjuster is appointed by one party. The role of the average adjuster is to

  • Collect all the information following a general average action
  • Make a statement of general average contribution of each party
  • Collect general average security from each party
  • Assist in effective settlement of the general average

Irrespective of which party has appointed average adjuster, it is the duty of the average adjuster to be impartial towards general average settlement.

Association of average adjusters sets the standards for the training of average adjusters.


General average allows sharing of loss in an unfortunate incident. General average is a good old maritime practice. Not only for ship owners and other parties involved but also for ship’s masters.

To some extent it allows the master of the ship to be a boss and take actions what he believes is the best for that situation.

Take an example where master need to beach the ship to save it from sinking. Because of general average, master would face lesser resistance from all the parties as the loss would be shared.

In the absence of general average, condition would be different. Master may have to convince all parties that beaching is the only option.

Another example where master has to jettison some cargo to save the ship. In the absence of general average, the cargo owner might object to why his cargo was jettisoned and not the other cargo ?

York Antwerp rules and General average has something good for everyone involved with a ship and carriage of cargo.

Related Blogs

Follow us Today on
our social network

Capt Rajeev Jassal

About Capt Rajeev Jassal

Capt. Rajeev Jassal has sailed for over 19 years mainly on crude oil, product and chemical tankers. He holds MBA in shipping & Logistics degree from London. He has done extensive research on quantitatively measuring Safety culture onboard and safety climate ashore which he believes is the most important element for safer shipping.

Search Blog


Ashish Kumar
Ashish Kumar
Oct 8, 2016

First of all ........thanks sir for posting this useful article. Needed your useful clarification on few other topics like hauge , hague visby & hamburg rules. Also if you could explain the meaning of term "scantling draught". Many thanks in advance

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Oct 9, 2016

Ashish, I had written a post on Hague visby rules. I hope this is what you are looking for. Check that out. Scantling draft is the maximum draft at which ship can withstand all the loads safely. It can be more than the design draft of the vessel but never lesser than that.

Ashish Kumar
Ashish Kumar
Oct 9, 2016

Many thanks for providing the definition of scantling i had asked many ppl for it but no one could provide me with this answer. Further can u send me the link of the post on Hague visby rules as i cant locate it.

Ashish Kumar
Ashish Kumar
Oct 9, 2016

Thanks ...i have got it.

Feb 2, 2018

Sir can it be more than summer draft???

Mac Pablo Dias
Mac Pablo Dias
Jun 10, 2020

Thank you so much sir for that lovely Article, beautiful in simple words explained which i will always remember. Sir how do i get in touch with you

Yashovardhan Chaubay
Yashovardhan Chaubay
Oct 30, 2016

i am preparing for chief mates and this article is the most simplest for me to understand this.

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Oct 31, 2016

Glad you found it useful Yashovardhan...

Nov 14, 2016

Dear Rajeev, excellent article. I do have one question though - what happens if the ship is not laden? Then the cost would be split between the charterer (if the ship on a TC for example) and the owner? What about when a vessel is voyage chartered and is on her ballast leg - same conditions as above with the TC apply? Thank you advance, Paul

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Nov 17, 2016

Hi Paul.. For ballast passage there will only be one party involved. That will the owner of the ship. For example if the ship crew flood the hold to extinguish fire in a empty hold, no one other than owner is benefitted. So this will be a case of particular average and only owner would bear the costs.

Sep 14, 2019

On time charter fuel is being supplied by Charterer, so i believe in ballast passage he has to contribute even in absence of cargo. Correct me if i am wrong

Ajay Sanga
Ajay Sanga
Feb 10, 2017

Excellent very nicely explained

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Feb 10, 2017

Thanks Ajay..

Mar 12, 2017

Please sir I need an answer on similarities and differences of Hague visit rule and York antwerp rule

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Mar 13, 2017

Hague visby rules deals with the Bill of ladings and contract of carriage. York Antwerp rules deals with averaging the loss in case of an accident during the voyage.

Mar 13, 2017

thanks so much sir

Dinesh Rana
Dinesh Rana
Jul 9, 2017

thank you v much for the lovely explaination.. i would like to correct that the vessel is in distress under calm sea is not under command and not in peril unless high wind force rough weather.. as the master has to decide wheather she has to be towed or salvage.

Jul 23, 2017

Thank you Sir. Excellent information well presented.

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Aug 26, 2017

Thanks, Dhadwal....

Anuradha Iroshan
Anuradha Iroshan
Aug 25, 2017

Thanks a lot...every presentation is so are a treasure to our field.

Rajeev Jassal
Rajeev Jassal
Aug 26, 2017

Thank you, Anuradha...

Salim Mfunga
Salim Mfunga
Dec 19, 2017

Sinking a burning ship in order to extinguish fire can it be included in the General average?

Rohit Seth
Rohit Seth
Jan 10, 2018

First of let me congratulate you Sir for this excellent write up. I have a doubt , if a superintendent is flown in to assist a ship which is already grounded , Can the expenses be added to general average.

shashi kumar
shashi kumar
Jan 27, 2018

excellent article sir, can u explain who declares that it is GA in practice.Its only master or any party having interest?

Ankush sood
Ankush sood
Jan 30, 2018

First of all thank u sir for posting this in such a simple language to understand. I am preparing for mates exams, can you pls post a small description of Rotterdam rules also.

Feb 6, 2018

THANKS TO THE GREAT SPELL CASTER CALLED DR.james FOR SOLVING MY PROBLEMS HIS EMAIL IS ( i was married to my husband for 5 years we were living happily together for this years and not until he traveled to Italy for a business trip where he met this girl and since then he hate me and the kids and love her only. so when my husband came back from the trip he said he does not want to see me and my kids again so he drove us out of the house and he was now going to Italy to see that other woman. so i and my kids were now so frustrated and i was just staying with my mum and i was not be treating good because my mother got married to another man after my father death so the man she got married to was not treating her well, i and my kids where so confuse and i was searching for a way to get my husband back home because i love and cherish him so much so one day as i was browsing on my computer i saw a testimony about this spell caster DR.james, testimonies shared on the internet by a lady and it impress me so much i also think of give it a try. At first i was scared but when i think of what me and my kids are passing through so i contact him and he told me to stay calm for just 24 hours that my husband shall come back to me and to my best surprise i received a call from my husband on the second day asking after the kids and i called DR.james and he said your problems are solved my child. so this was how i get my family back after a long stress of brake up by an evil lady so with all this help from DR.james, i want you all on this forum to join me to say a huge thanks to DR.james, and i will also advice for any one in such or similar problems or any kind of problems should also contact him his email is drjamesd3@gmail .com)he is the solution to all your problems and predicaments in life. once again his email address, HE IS SPECIALIZE IN THE THE FOLLOWING SPELL. (1) If you want your ex back. (2) if you always have bad dreams. (3) If you want to be promoted in your office. (4) If you want women/men to run after you. (5) If you want a child. (6) If you want to be rich. (7) If you want to tie your husband/wife to be yours forever. (8) If you need financial assistance. (9) How you been scammed and you want to recover you lost money. (10) if you want to stop your divorce. (11) if you want to divorce your husband. (12) if you want your wishes to be granted. (13) Pregnancy spell to conceive baby (14) Guarantee you win the troubling court cases & divorce no matter how what stage (15) Stop your marriage or relationship from breaking apart. (16) if you have any sickness like ( H I V ), (CANCER) or any sickness. once again make sure you contact him if you have any problem he will help you. his email address, OR contact him with his whatsapp on +27737872215 contact him immediately

Joy Ofeimu
Joy Ofeimu
Mar 16, 2018

Dr Jack, Here is my testimony from a Heart Warming indebted Client (Joy Ofeimu from United states) I will try to make this short as possible. In July I found out that my husband of almost 17yrs was having an affair and he actually brought this woman to my home. I was devastated to say the least. I met my husband 18yrs ago and he swept me off my feet and we got married 11 months after we met. We had a great marriage (I thought) we have two beautiful boys. In 2015 we moved 800 miles away to a very small town due to his job. I quit my high paying job at a company that I had worked at for 14yrs to move away from my family and job/career to be a stay at home mom. Then here we are 2 and 1/2 years later going through a divorce and no job. I felt schizophrenic going through all of these emotions from acceptance, to denial, to how can this be and back again. I tried all the best effort i could to get him back from this woman whom he was having an affair with, and make him see how much i love to be with him. but he insisted he never wanted to be with me anymore. Its was almost 4 months since he started living with this other woman, then i decided to use Dr. Jack spells for help because i had no other choice and i felt everything was lost to me. I had the most wonderful and happy marriage after using his spell in just 48 hours, and that was how my marital life was fixed back to its right track. If you are one of the people who is in a loveless and unhappy marriage that cannot be salvaged (and you can only determine that by being very honest with yourself), believe me...there is light at the end of this tunnel. Here is his Email: or Call him +2348138289852

Terry Young
Terry Young
Mar 19, 2018

Sir, thank you so much for you genuine spell,my wife is back!!! Thank you sir for your genuine spells. This is really incredible, and I have never experienced anything like this in my life. Before i met you Sir, i have tried every all probable means that i could to get my wife back, but i actually came to realize that nothing was working out for me, and that my wife had developed lot of hatred for me.. I thought there was n o hope to reunite with my ex wife and kids. But when i read good reviews about your work sir, i decided to give it a try and i did everything that you instructed me and i Trusted in you and followed your instructions just as you have guaranteed me in 48 hours, and that was exactly when my wife called me.. We are more contented now than ever. Everything looks perfect and so natural! Thank you so much for your authentic and indisputable spells. Thanks Sir for your help. If you need help in your marriage of broken relationship,please contact Dr Jack right now for urgent help. Or Call him now +2348138289852

Purushottam lal
Purushottam lal
Apr 1, 2018

the explanation was so great have word to say ..sir please if you can share on magnetic compass and corrector and tentative swing will great for me doing my master

Dipen Ghariya
Dipen Ghariya
Aug 8, 2018

Sir, can you please post information on. Problem posed by article 13 & 14 of salvage convention towards rule 6 of york antwerp rules

Aug 19, 2018

Sir please write a topic on sue and labour clause. Mentioning the shares between different parties and how it is done.

Oct 23, 2018

what is the use of leed line and what occasion can it be apply.

Terry Young
Terry Young
Nov 6, 2018

Sir, thank you so much for you genuine spell,my wife is back!!! Thank you sir for your genuine spells. This is really incredible, and I have never experienced anything like this in my life. Before i met you Sir, i have tried every all probable means that i could to get my wife back, but i actually came to realize that nothing was working out for me, and that my wife had developed lot of hatred for me.. I thought there was n o hope to reunite with my ex wife and kids. But when i read good reviews about your work sir, i decided to give it a try and i did everything that you instructed me and i Trusted in you and followed your instructions just as you have guaranteed me in 48 hours, and that was exactly when my wife called me.. We are more contented now than ever. Everything looks perfect and so natural! Thank you so much for your authentic and indisputable spells. Thanks Sir for your help. If you need help in your marriage of broken relationship,please contact Dr Jack right now for urgent help. Or Call him or you WhatsApps him now +2348138289852

Nov 27, 2018

Sir , why does the numbered rules takes precedence over the lettered rules ? any logical explaniation

Mar 21, 2019

Sir can you discuss also the hamburg rule as well as the rotterdam rule... Your explaination on huage and hague visby rule is really great and comprehendable... Only at your explainations i may understand these rule compare to my instructor.. I hope you can have these request possible soon. Thanks...

Apr 23, 2019

Sir, In LCL Container, if one of the consignees refuses to pay General Average for uninsured cargo. What options available to other consignees? Can we hold responsible for Freight Forwarder / Consolidator? Pls advise. Thanks ...

sameer kaushik
sameer kaushik
Jun 5, 2019

my question is, if a loaded vessel gets grounded due to low tide and master calls for tugs for towing. before arrival of tugs the ships get afloat because of change of tide. in this case will the tugs be paid? if yes then who will pay?

Rashid Ghffar
Rashid Ghffar
Jul 19, 2019

Will the GA Guarantee be returned by the Average Adjusters to the Insurance company after settlement is finalized and dues have been paid???

Amar anand
Amar anand
Jun 29, 2020

nice blog sir

Leave Comment