Towards the York Antwerp Rules 2016


The Comité Maritime International (CMI) are the custodians of the York-Antwerp Rules and are responsible for all revisions. When changes are considered desirable the CMI will appoint an International Working Group (IWG) to be responsible for seeking the views of the National Maritime Law Associations (MLA) and other stakeholders such as the International Chamber of Shipping and IUMI. This IWG reports to an International Sub-Committee (ISC) which includes representatives of every National MLA. This ISC, if it considers changes are warranted, will make recommendations to the Plenary Session of the main CMI conference which is held every 4 years.

At the CMI Conference in Vancouver in 2004, the ISC presented recommendations which were debated but without consensus being achieved between the main stakeholders, namely the shipowners and the cargo insurers. Despite this lack of agreement revised rules were pushed through; these rules became the YAR 2004.

The very limited use of the YAR 2004, due to the lack of consensus, caused the CMI some embarrassment; for the first time a set of YARs promoted by them were not being used. In 2012 they decided to do something about it.

An attempt was made to amend these rules at the CMI Conference in Beijing in 2012 but there was no enthusiasm for the rather half-hearted proposals made at that time. However, it was agreed that the YARs in their entirety should be considered by a IWG and ISC with a view to a possible revision at the next CMI Conference at New York in 2016.

Thus charged, the IWG, of which Michael Harvey is a member, prepared a detailed questionnaire which was submitted to all of the National MLAs and other stakeholders to gather their views on all aspects of GA and the YARs. The response to this questionnaire was most encouraging and the results were considered in detail by the IWG and ISC at a meeting in Dublin in October 2013. At this meeting, issues that required further detailed consideration were identified and allocated to five sub-groups. The reports of these sub-groups were considered at a further meeting of the IWG and ISC in Hamburg in June 2014.

The main areas of contention between the stakeholders are:

1.     The allowance of salvage in GA where each party has already paid its proportion – RULE VI

2.     The allowance of wages and maintenance of crew during detention at a port of refuge – RULE XI(a)

3.     The allowance of commission on GA disbursements – RULE XX

4.     The rate of interest to be allowed on GA disbursements – RULE XXI

These are the principal issues, there are many less contentious issues that are also being considered. The work of the IWG continues to achieve consensus and to revise the rules to reflect agreed positions.

© Harvey Ashby Limited 2019