553. Principle of general average.

General average is part of the law of the sea founded on equity. It formed part of the Rhodian law1, was based in earlier custom and existed many centuries before the existence of marine insurance. Rhodian law provided that, when cargo was thrown overboard to lighten a vessel, that which had been given for all had to be replaced by the contribution of all. The most often cited legal definition of 'general average' is 'all loss which arises in consequence of extraordinary sacrifices made or expenses incurred for the preservation of the ship and cargo losses within general average,