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Merchant Shipping (Safety and Load Line Conventions) Act 1932

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This is the original version (as it was originally enacted).

Fire Detection and Extinction

1. An efficient patrol system shall be maintained, so that any outbreak of fire may be promptly detected. In addition, a fire alarm or fire detecting system shall be provided, which will automatically indicate or register at one or more points or stations where it can be most quickly observed by officers and crew, the presence or indication of fire in any part of the ship not accessible to the patrol system. 2. Every ship shall be provided with powerful pumps, operated by steam or other means. On ships of less than 4,000 tons gross there shall be two, and on larger ships three of these pumps. Each of the pumps shall be capable of delivering a sufficient quantity of water in two powerful jets simultaneously in any given part of the ship, and shall be available for immediate use before the ship leaves port. 3. The service pipes shall permit of two powerful jets of water being simultaneously directed on any given part of a deck occupied by passengers and crew, when the watertight and fire-resisting doors are closed. The service pipes and hoses shall be of ample size and made of suitable material. The branches of the pipes shall be so placed on each deck that the fire hose can be easily coupled to them. 4. Provision shall be made whereby at least two powerful jets of water can be rapidly and simultaneously directed into any space containing cargo. In addition, arrangements shall be made whereby smothering gas sufficient to give a minimum volume of free gas equal to 30 per cent. of the gross volume of the largest hold in the ship can be promptly conveyed by a permanent piping system into each compartment in which cargo is carried. Steam in adequately equivalent proportion may be accepted in place of smothering gas on steam-driven ships. Provision for the supply of smothering gas or steam need not be required in ships of less than 1,000 tons gross. 5. A sufficient number of portable fluid fire extinguishers shall be provided, at least two being carried in each machinery space. 6. Two equipments, consisting of a smoke helmet or breathing apparatus and a safety lamp, shall be carried on board, and kept in two widely separated places. 7. In steamships in which the main boilers are oil fired, there shall be provided in addition to means whereby two powerful jets of water may be rapidly and simultaneously directed into any part of the machinery spaces—

(a) Suitable conductors for spraying water on oil without undue disturbance of the surface. (b) In each firing space, a receptacle containing 283 cubic decimetres (10 cubic feet) of sand, sawdust impregnated with soda, or other approved dry materials, and scoops for distributing the same. (c) In each boiler room, and in each of the machinery spaces in which a part of the oil fuel installation is situated, two approved portable extinguishers of a type discharging froth or other approved medium suitable for quenching oil fires. (d) Means whereby froth may be rapidly discharged and distributed over the whole of the lower part of the boiler room or of any one boiler room, if there are more than one, or of any machinery space in which oil fuel units or settling tanks are situated. The quantity of froth which can be discharged shall be ample to cover to a depth of 15.24 centimetres (6 inches) the whole area of the plating formed in any one compartment by the inner bottom plating, or by the shell plating of the vessel, if there is no double-bottom tank. If the engine and boiler rooms are not entirely separate, and fuel can drain from the boiler room bilges into the engine room, the combined engine and boiler rooms shall be considered as one compartment. The apparatus shall be operated and controlled from outside the compartment in which the fire may occur. (e) In addition to the foregoing, one extinguisher of the froth type of at least 136 litres (30 gallons) capacity in steamships having one boiler room and two such extinguishers in steamships with more than one boiler room. These extinguishers shall be provided with hoses on reels suitable for reaching any part of the boiler rooms and spaces containing oil-fuel pumping units. Equally efficient apparatus may be accepted in place of the 136 litres (30-gallons) extinguishers. (f) All containers and valves by which they are operated shall be easily accessible and so placed that they will not readily be cut off from use by an outbreak of fire. (8) In vessels propelled by internal combustion engines there shall be provided in each of the machinery spaces, in addition to means whereby two powerful jets of water may be rapidly and simultaneously directed into any part of the machinery spaces, together with suitable spraying conductors, froth extinguishers as follows :—

(a) At least one approved 45 litres (10-gallons) extinguisher with an addition of one approved 9 litres (2-gallons) extinguisher for each 1,000 B.H.P. of the engines, but the total number of 9 litres (2-gallons) extinguishers so supplied shall be not less than two and need not exceed six. (b) When a donkey boiler is situated in the machinery space there shall be provided, in place of the 45 litres (10-gallons) extinguisher mentioned above, one of 136 litres (30 gallons) capacity, fitted with suitable hose attachments or other approved methods for distributing the froth. (9) In steamships using oil fuel, if the engine and boiler rooms are not entirely separated by a steel bulkhead, and if fuel oil can drain from the boiler-room bilges into the engine room, one of the fire pumps shall be situated in the tunnel or other space outside the machinery compartment. When more than two pumps are required they shall not all be fitted in the same space. (10) Where any special type of appliance, extinguishing medium or arrangement is specified, any other type of appliance, &c, may be allowed, provided that it is not less effective than the specified one. For example—a Carbon Dioxide system may be accepted in place of a froth installation (paragraph (7), sub-paragraphs (d) and (e)), provided that the quantity of carbon dioxide carried is sufficient to give a gas saturation of about 25 per cent. for the gross volume of the stokehold to about the top of the boilers. (11) All the fire-extinguishing appliances shall be thoroughly examined at least once each year by a surveyor appointed by the Administration. Regulation XLIV

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