The concept of general average is a legal theory that dates back centuries and has its roots in maritime law. The notion behind the general average principle is that in the event of unforeseen and extreme occurrences, such as shipwrecks or hurricanes, all of the parties involved in a voyage should share in the losses that have been sustained. This is the basis for the general average principle. When a ship is in danger and efforts are made to save it, such as by jettisoning part of the cargo, the principle states that all of the parties who benefit from the sacrifice, including the owners of the ship and the cargo as well as the insurers, should contribute to the loss of the ship. This includes the owners of the cargo.
The concept that later became known as general average may be traced all the way back to ancient Greece and Rome, when it was known by the name “jettison.” The ancient Greeks and Romans were aware that during the course of a journey, ships and their cargo were frequently subjected to a variety of risks, including being attacked by pirates, being wrecked by storms, and so on. It was occasionally necessary for the crew of the ship to throw overboard some of the cargo in order to lessen the load carried by the vessel and improve its chances of survival. This was done in order to reduce the dangers that they faced. During the Middle Ages, when sea trade was growing more widespread, this principle was eventually embraced by the marine law of the countries that are located in the Mediterranean, and it was later adopted by the maritime law of the United Kingdom.
As a result of the increasing globalization of sea trade, the notion of general average was also adopted by a number of other countries. The York-Antwerp Rules are a collection of international rules that have been in use since their initial adoption in the year 1890. These rules provide a common framework for general average claims. After that, in 1974 and 1994, these regulations received revisions, and today they are widely implemented in international trade.
In a nutshell, the general average is a principle that has its roots in maritime law and states that when unforeseen events take place and sacrifices are made to save the ship, all parties involved in the voyage should share in the losses that have been sustained. This principle has its origins in ancient times. It was accepted into the legal systems of ancient Greece, Rome, and Britain’s maritime law, and it is still recognized in today’s legal systems of marine commerce. It is common practice in international commerce to adhere to the York-Antwerp Rules, which offer a standardized framework within which general average claims can be made.