MV Star Antares - Court decides on which version of the York-Antwerp Rules applied to general average claims

Star Axe I LLC v Royal and Sun Alliance Luxembourg SA and others, The Star Antares [10.11.2023]

The Commercial Court was asked to rule on the long debated question of which version of the York-Antwerp Rules is applicable when bills of lading have been issued on the Congenbill 1994 form. It held that the applicable rules were the York-Antwerp Rules 2016, which include a one year time bar from the date of the general average adjustment. 

Congenbill wording

Clause (3) of the standard Congenbill 1994 form states that:

“General Average shall be adjusted, stated and settled according to York-Antwerp Rules 1994, or any subsequent modification thereof…”.


The Court held that the applicable rules were the York-Antwerp Rules 2016, rejecting the claimant’s argument that these were new ‘rules’ rather than ‘modifications’ of the 1994 rules.

The court considered that as a matter of ordinary language, there was no difficulty in interpreting and describing the 2016 rules as ‘modifications’ of the 1994 rules rather than a set of ‘new rules’.


The one year time bar after the date upon which the general average adjustment is issued as per Rule XXIII, York-Antwerp Rules 2016 -  which is not found in York-Antwerp Rules 1994 - will have a significant impact on claims for general average contributions under Congenbill 94 bills of lading.

It is understood that the unsuccessful shipowners have not filed notice to appeal and, therefore, this decision is likely to remain binding for the foreseeable future.

This ruling has the potential to catch some owners and interested parties unawares, particularly if they have not sought to protect time within 12 months from issuance of the general average adjustment.

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