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York Antwerp Rules 2016 – the changes

The York Antwerp Rules 2016 (“YAR 2016”) adopted in May 2016 brought an end to twelve years of uncertainty for shipowners and marine insurers following the adoption of the York Antwerp Rules 2004 (“YAR 2004”).  The YAR 2004 did not have the support of shipowners and were rarely incorporated into contracts in preference to the well-established and well understood 1994 Rules (“YAR 1994”).  The YAR 2016 preserve some of the elements of the 2004 version that were considered as modernising the way general average is treated while at the same time re-introducing some of the provisions that made the YAR 1994 such a successful set of rules.

Some of the more significant changes introduced by the YAR 2016 are as follows.

  1. Salvage Remuneration (Rule VI) – in contrast to the YAR 2004, salvage expenses will remain allowable in general average albeit at the adjuster’s discretion.
  2. Expenses at port of refuge (Rule X) – crew wages (Rule XI) while at the port of refuge will again be allowed in general average.  This more or less restores the position as it was under the YAR 1994.
  3. Temporary repairs (Rule XIV) –  the cost of temporary repairs carried out at a port of refuge and to enable the safe completion of the common maritime adventure is allowed in general average.
  4. Contributory Values (Rule XVII) – a new provision is introduced which allows the exclusion of low value cargo from contributing where the adjuster considers the cost of including it would be disproportionate to its eventual contribution.  This measure was designed to speed up the adjusting process.
  5. Provision of Funds (Rules XX) and Interest on Losses Allowed in General Average (Rule XXI) – In respect of commission allowed in general average, the YAR 2016 preserve the position of the YAR 2004 which abolishes the 2% commission.  In relation to the allowance for interest, this is now as per the 12-month ICE LIBOR rate for the currency in which the adjustment is prepared +4%.
  6. The YAR 2016 incorporate the strict one-year time bar first introduced in the YAR 2004.  This means that parties claiming a contribution in General Average need to bring their action within 1 year from the date of issue of the average adjustment but no later than 6 years after the termination of the common maritime adventure.

BIMCO have agreed that all new and revised BIMCO charterparties and bills of lading will refer to general average being adjusted in accordance with the new YAR 2016.

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