The General Average Definition

The law of general average is a principle of maritime law whereby all stakeholders in a sea venture proportionally share any losses resulting from a voluntary sacrifice of part of the ship or cargo to save the whole in an emergency.

For instance, should the crew jettison some cargo overboard to lighten the ship in a storm, the loss would be shared pro rata by both the carrier and the cargo-owners.

In the exigencies of hazards faced at sea, crew members may have little time in which to determine precisely whose cargo they are jettisoning.

Thus, to avoid quarreling that could waste valuable time, there arose the equitable practice whereby all the merchants whose cargo landed safely would be called on to contribute a portion, based upon a share or percentage, to the merchant or merchants whose goods had been tossed overboard to avert imminent peril.

December 20, 2020
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