General Average “York Antwerp Rules 2016” adopted by the Comite Maritime International (CMI)

Tuesday, 24th May 2016

After four years of consultation and review by a CMI International Working Group (“IWG”) on which the Group participated, along with shipowner and property insurer representatives, adjusters and National Maritime Law Association representatives, the York-Antwerp Rules 2016 were adopted by the CMI Assembly at its conference in New York in early May. The adoption of the new 2016 Rules brings to a successful conclusion 12 years of uncertainty for shipowners and Marine insurers following the adoption of the 2004 Rules, which did not have the support of shipowners, and which were very rarely used in preference to the well-established and well understood 1994 Rules. The development and finalisation of the 2016 rules is a testament to the very considerable work undertaken by the IWG, spearheaded by Bent Nielsen, Richard Cornah and Taco van der Valk, and well supported in particular by the international adjusting community, the International Chamber of Shipping, BIMCO and IUMI. The most contentious areas of the 2004 Rules have been satisfactorily addressed in the 2016 Rules, notably in relation to the treatment for adjusting purposes of salvage remuneration (Rule VI), expenses (Rule X) and crew wages (Rule XI) at ports of refuge, the treatment of temporary repairs (Rule XIV), the exclusion of low value cargo (Rule XVII) and the provisions relating to Commission and Interest (Rules XX and XXI), with the result that the new Rules satisfactorily address the concerns of ICS and BIMCO which will hopefully encourage widespread adoption in shipping contracts. At the BIMCO Documentary Committee meetings in Copenhagen which followed the CMI New York Assembly, it was agreed that BIMCO charter parties and bills of lading should henceforth refer to General Average being adjusted in accordance with the York-Antwerp Rules 2016. In addition to the adoption of the new Rules, the IWG developed Guidelines relating to General Average which were also approved by the CMI Assembly. The Guidelines are intended to assist in dealing with General Average cases and provide background information on the basic principles, guidance as to recognised best practice and an outline of General Average adjusting procedures. The Guidelines do not form part of the Rules, are not binding, and are not intended to override or to alter the provisions of the Rules themselves. It is intended that the Guidelines will be a living document and will be periodically updated under the supervision of a standing review committee. PDF copies of the text of the 2016 rules and the Guidelines are included below.