general average

(shipping) A loss that affects all cargo interests on board a vessel as well as the ship herself. These include the owner of the hull and the owners of all the cargoes aboard for their respective values plus the owner or charterer who stands to earn a specific income from freight charges for the voyage.
A general average loss may occur whether goods are insured or not. It is one that results from an intentional sacrifice (or expenditure) incurred by the master of a vessel in time of danger for the benefit of both ship and cargo. The classic example of this is jettison to lighten a stranded vessel. From the most ancient times, the maritime laws of all trading nations have held that such a sacrifice shall be borne by all for whose benefit the sacrifice was made, and not alone by the owner of the cargo thrown overboard.
The principles of general average have been refined over the years, and they have inevitably come to reflect the increasing complexity of present day commerce. A vessel owner may and does declare his vessel under general average whenever, for the common good in time of danger an intentional sacrifice of ship or cargo has been made, or an extraordinary expenditure has been incurred. In actual practice, general averages result mainly from strandings, fires, collisions and from engaging salvage assistance or putting into a port of refuge following a machinery breakdown or other peril.
As the name implies, general average claims affect all the interests which stand to suffer a financial loss if a particular voyage is not successfully completed.
(insurance) Insurance coverage for a general average loss.
See average; particular average; with average; free of particular average; deductible average.

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