During the carriage of goods by sea or inland waterway, the cargo is exposed to the risk of a “common accident” (General Average). A common accident occurs when the shipping community (vessel, crew and carried cargo) is exposed to a common danger. In order to save the shipping community, a deliberate action (or deliberate inaction) is subsequently developed which results in extraordinary expenses. These expenses are shareout between the vessel, freight and cargo in proportion to their value on behalf of the shipowner and the cargo owner, who are obliged to bear a proportionate share of the damage from the joint accident.
The amount of expenses from a common accident is determined on the basis of a “dispatch” prepared by a professionally qualified person appointed by the operator of the vessel – DISPATCHER or General average adjuster.
A dispatcher appointed by the owner of the transported goods (so-called co-dispatch) may also take part in the process of making the dispatch. However, unless a dispatcher has not been appointed for the purpose of a co-dispatch, it is only possible to protest against the shareout of expenses from a joint accident through the courts.