York Antwerp Rules

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Introduction to the York-Antwerp Rules 2016

Introduction to the York-Antwerp Rules 2016

3.01 At the Vancouver Conference of the CMI in 2004 the delegates pushed through changes to the Rules which they knew were not acceptable to the shipowner stakeholders. This had the inevitable consequence that they were rarely incorporated by reference in bills of lading and contracts of affreightment, shipowners preferring to specify the 1994 Rules much to the embarrassment of the CMI. 3.02 Recognising that something should be done to remedy this situation, in February 2012 the CMI established an International Working Group (IWG) to consider possible amendments to the 2004 Rules to make them more palatable to shipowners. The working group consisted of Mr Søren Larsen, Mr Donald Chard and Mr Richard Cornah (nominated by BIMCO), Mr Ben Browne (nominated by IUMI), Mr Michael Harvey (nominated by AMD), Mr Andrew Bardot (nominated by the International Group of P&I Clubs), and Mr Bent Nielsen and Mr Karl-Johan Gombrii, President of the CMI (nominated by CMI). 3.03 The IWG met in Copenhagen on 21 March 2012 where the principal issues for discussion were the provisions of Rule VI (Salvage) and Rule XI(c) (wages and maintenance of crew during detention at a port of refuge). In addition, it was proposed that a Rule of Application be included to make it clear that these new Rules, referred to as the York-Antwerp Rules 2012, should be considered as an amendment of earlier rules. 3.04 Earlier informal discussions had indicated that the shipowner interests required amendments to these Rules as a minimum. However, although IUMI were willing to accept the reintroduction of the allowance of crew wages at a port or refuge, they were resolute in wanting to preclude the reapportionment of salvage in general average where salvage was the only or principal expense. 3.05 After a healthy discussion, during which the defects in Rule VI as it stood (the lack of definition of “salvage payments” and the inequity in not allowing those that funded the salvage general average interest at least) were pointed out, it was agreed to develop a revised Rule VI along the following lines. 3.06 The CMI proposed amending Rule VI by not allowing salvage payments in general average if they exceeded a set percentage of the total sums allowed in general average if salvage were included. The set percentage was not established. They also proposed the retention of the existing accounting mechanism where one party had paid salvage on behalf of any or all of the other salved interests. 3.07 It was agreed that the provisions in Rule XI(c) relating to crew wages in the 1994 Rules be reinstated and that a Rule of Application be included.

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3.08 Following the meeting, appropriate wordings were developed and agreed among the members of the IWG. Thereafter a report was drafted and sent to the national maritime law associations on 25 June 2012 requesting comments by 31 August. The responses received indicated that there was little enthusiasm for the IWG proposals. 3.09 Nevertheless, the IWG proposals were briefly debated by a CMI International Sub-Committee at the CMI Conference in Beijing in October 2012 and it was quickly confirmed that there was no enthusiasm for the proposed changes; in fact, a vote showed that there was zero support. In particular the difficulty of establishing a suitable percentage to trigger the allowance of salvage under Rule VI was seen as an insurmountable hurdle. 3.10 At this point one of the members of the IWG (one of the authors) suggested that consideration be given to continuing the meeting as an informal workshop to establish areas of concern which might be considered and consulted upon with a view to recommending a revised set of rules at the next CMI Conference in 2016. This suggestion was accepted and led to a very useful debate. 3.11 At the Plenary Session of the Conference the Chairman of the Working Group recommended to the CMI Executive Council:

[T]hat it should appoint a new International Working Group on General Average, with a mandate to carry out a general review of the York-Antwerp Rules on General Average, and, noting that the York-Antwerp Rules 2004 had not found acceptance in the ship owning community, to draft a new set of York-Antwerp Rules which meet the requirements of ship and cargo owners and their respective insurers, with a view to their adoption at the 2016 CMI Conference.

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