Rule VIII. allows as G.A. any damage sustained by cargo when discharged and, say, lightered for the purpose of getting the ship off a strand. And the corresponding damage in the case of cargo discharged at a port of refuge to enable repairs to be done to the ship is allowed by Rule XII. But in the latter case the allowance does not expressly extend to damage sustained while stored on land. Whether the law would require contribution to a loss of goods, say, by thieves or by fire, while landed for repairs, is not clear. Where the landing has been necessitated by a G.A. act, as cutting away masts, it would seem that the loss ought to be made good, as being a result of the special risks to which those goods have thereby been exposed. The risks which they would have run if they had remained on board throughout are taken into account, as will presently appear, in estimating how much of the damage is to be made good.
Where cattle were taken into a port of refuge in Brazil, owing to accidental damage to the ship, with the result that they could not legally be landed at their destination (Deptford), and had to be taken to another port (Antwerp), at which they were of much less value, this loss of value was allowed in G.A. (Anglo-Argentine etc. Agency v. Temperley Shipping Co., 1899, 2 Q.B. 403).
The case of a stranded ship and cargo often gives rise to difficulty as to whether the cost of operations to lighten the ship, and afterwards to get her floated, should be treated as G.A. expenditure, or as expenses separately incurred in saving the separate interests. The true conclusion seems to be that either the whole operation should be treated as one for the common safety, and the whole expense be contributed to by all the interests saved, or else the several parts of the operation should be kept distinct, debiting the cost of each to the interests thereby saved. Which of these two views should be adopted in any case seems to depend upon the motives with which the earlier operations (usually the discharge of the cargo) were presumably undertaken. It may, however, happen that this test cannot be applied once for all. Take the case of a stranded ship carrying a bulky cargo of hemp and grain, but carrying also some bullion. Suppose this last to be rescued and taken to a place of safety at small expense in comparison with its value.
It may well be that that operation must be regarded as done in the interest simply of the bullion itself, but that the subsequent operations of lightening the ship and floating her can only be properly regarded as undertaken in the common interest of ship, hemp, grain and freight. In such a case there will be a G.A. contribution towards those later operations by those interests. But the bullion will not contribute; it will merely bear the expense of its own rescue (Royal Mail S. P. Co. v. English Bank of Rio de Janeiro, 1887, 19 Q.B.D. 362).
The York-Antwerp Rules have not only had the valuable result of introducing uniformity where there had been great variety, and corresponding certainty as to the principles which will be acted upon in adjusting any G.A. loss, but also they have introduced greater clearness and definiteness on points where there had been a want of definition. Thus Rule XIII. has laid down a careful and definite scale to regulate the deductions from the cost of repairs, in respect of "new for old," in place of the former somewhat uncertain customary rules which varied according to the place of adjustment; while at the same time the opportunity has been taken of adapting the scale of deductions to modern conditions of shipbuilding. And Rule XVII. lays down a rule as to contributory values in place of the widely varying rules of different countries as to the amounts upon which ship and freight shall contribute (cf. Gow, Marine Insurance, 305).
It may be of interest to refer briefly to one or two main principles which govern the adjustment (q.v.) of general average, i.e. the calculation of the amounts to be made good and paid by the several interests, which is a complicated matter. The fundamental idea is that the several interests at risk shall contribute in proportion to the benefits they have severally received by the completion of the adventure. Contributions are not made in proportion to the amounts at stake when the sacrifice was made, but in proportion to the results when the adventure has come to an end. An interest which has become lost after the sacrifice, during the subsequent course of the voyage, will pay nothing; an interest which has become depreciated will pay in proportion to the diminished value. The liability to contribute is inchoate only when the sacrifice has been made. It becomes complete when the adventure has come to an end, either by arrival at the destination, or by having been broken up at some intermediate point, while the interest in question still survives. To this there is one exception, in the case of G.A. expenditure.
Where such expenditure has been incurred by the owner of one interest, generally by the shipowner, the repayment to him by the other interests ought not to be wholly dependent upon the subsequent safety of those interests at the ultimate destination. If those other interests or some of them arrive, or are realized, as by being landed at an intermediate port, the rule (as in the case of G.A. sacrifices) is that the contributions are to be in proportion to the arrived or realized values. But if all are lost the burden of the expenditure ought not to remain upon the interest which at first bore it; and the proper rule seems to be that contributions must be made by all the interests which were at stake when it was made, in proportion to their then values.
Again, the object of the law of G.A. is to put one whose property is sacrificed upon an equal footing with the rest, not upon a better footing. Thus, if goods to the value of £100 have been thrown overboard for the general safety, the owner of those goods must not receive the full £100 in contribution. He himself must bear a part of it, for those goods formed part of the adventure for whose safety the jettison was made; and it is owing to the partial safety of the adventure that any contribution at all is received by him. He, therefore, is made to contribute with the other saved interests towards his own loss, in respect of the amount "made good" to him for that. The full £100 is treated as the amount to be made good, but the owner of the goods is made to contribute towards that upon the sum of £100 thus saved to him.