Since 1956, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has a General Average Adjusters' Office for the establishment of general averages, the expenses and sacrifices that have been made and their distribution among vessel, freight and cargo. This activity is regulated by Art. 290 and 30 2 of the Commercial Maritime Code, Ordinance No 11/1975 of the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Justice and the Rules on the Organization and Activity of the General Average Adjusters' Office with BCCI.
The Office operates in compliance with the accepted international practice for settlement of international private law commercial and maritime disputes for the establishment of general averages.
"General average" is a legal institute of maritime law and practice related to commercial navigation. It has been known from ancient times. The principles and mechanisms of the “general average” allow a just settlement and distribution of interests of the participants in sea transport.
"General average" is a legal term referring to damages, extraordinary expenses and sacrifices made deliberately, reasonably and consciously for saving the vessel, fr eight and cargo from a common danger for them during sea transport. The definition of the “general average ” is given by Art. 290 para 1 of the Commercial Maritime Code.
The existence of a general average , the expenses and sacrifices made, and the distribution of interests between vessel, freight and cargo is established by means of a “general average adjustment” per request of the interested party. The “general average adjustment” is a document drawn up by an "average adjuster", i.e. a person with a special qualification, evaluating and recognizing general average losses and expenses, calculating them and distributing them among the participants in the sea transport. The average adjuster makes a general average adjustment upon authorization by one of the interested parties - ship owner, sea carrier, cargo owner, insurer. The request for an average adjustment is usually made by the ship owner and has to be accompanied by all documents and evidence, which would allow the average adjuster to make a ruling whether there is or not a general average and then proceed to the average adjustment issuance.
The “general average adjustment” is the document which establishes the amount of the loss and its distribution among the participants in the transportation , in proportion to the value of cargo, ship and freight. General average adjustments can only be drawn up by the average adjuster included in the list of average adjusters with BCCI.
The average adjustment procedure consists of two main phases:
The general average adjustment must contain:
The average adjustment procedure is complicated and specific and requires special knowledge and experience not only in the field of law, but also in maritime law, foreign trade and insurance. To guarantee the necessary expertise in average adjustment procedures, BCCI organizes a special training which is completed by means of a written and oral exam before a commission to receive qualification “Average Adjuster”. Average adjusters can be only persons:
Average adjusters are included in the List of average adjusters by resolution of the Executive Council of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, elected among the persons who have successfully passed the exam under items 1 and 2 above and meet the requirements of item 3 above, for a period of three years:
Average adjusters impartial ly and conscientious ly perform their duties . They are obliged to execute in good faith the rights and obligations granted to them and to participate actively in the establishment of the facts, rights and obligations of the participants in the general average.
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Zdravka Georgieva, Rossitsa Spassova
Tel.: (+359 2) 8117 476, 8117 551, 987 88 84, 988 45 05
Fax: (+359 2) 987 32 09
E-mail: Z.Georgieva@bcci.bg, R.Spassova@bcci.bg