Action to avoid a loss due to a peril which threatens the interests of all the parties to a common adventure. For example, say refrigerating machinery of a reefer vessel breaks down during a loaded voyage through tropical waters, making it imperative to put into port for repairs.
The threat of loss in this case is limited to the cargo and perhaps the freight. As far as the ship itself is concerned the voyage could quite safely continue, so deviation to a repair port would not be a general average act. Where a fishmeal cargo was on fire, however, deviation would almost certainly qualify as a general average act. Deviation to a port of refuge is only allowed in general average where to do otherwise would imperil the ship, cargo and freight.