General average Tunisian maritime lawyers

General average

Our firm has experience in matters involving general average.

General average is a legal principle of maritime law according to which all parties 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. In the exigencies of hazards faced at sea, crew members often have precious little time in which to determine precisely whose cargo they are jettisoning. Thus, to avoid quarrelling 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. While general average traces its origins in ancient maritime law, still it remains part of the admiralty law of most countries.

Imagine a situation at sea like a fire or severe storm or the Kraken or any other life threatening situation. Under such circumstances, the master of the ship (as a last resort) might be forced to jettison (throw overboard) some or all cargoes that are on the ship in order to save part or whole of the ship.

When such situation occurs, the ship declares a legal principle of Maritime Law termed “General average”.  Under this principle, all parties who are involved in that voyage, shall be asked to proportionally share the losses resulting from such sacrifice. All parties including all merchants whose cargo landed safely would also be called to contribute a portion, based upon a share or percentage, to the merchant or merchants whose goods had been jettisoned in order to avert danger to the whole ship/crew.

We have experience in matters involving general average. The firm advises owners and insurers on the principles of general average under Tunisian law.

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