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18.—(1) In every ship of Class VII of 2,000 tons or over, other than ships to which paragraph (3) applies, there shall be provided a fixed fire-smothering gas installation complying with the requirements of Schedule 4 in Merchant Shipping Notice MSN 1666 which shall be so arranged as to protect every cargo space.
(2) The Secretary of State may exempt any ship (other than a ship engaged in the carriage of dangerous goods) from the requirements of paragraph (1) in so far as such arrangements relate to the provision of a fixed fire-smothering gas or steam installation in the cargo holds of the ship if he is satisfied that—
(a)the ship is constructed and solely intended for the carriage of bulk cargoes which are—
(i)listed in Table 1 of MSC Circular 671 as non-combustible or constituting a low fire risk; or
(ii)listed in Table 2 of MSC Circular 671 and for which a fixed gas system is ineffective, the cargo spaces being provided with an approved fire-extinguishing system which can be shown to give equivalent fire protection; and
(b)the holds are provided with steel hatch covers and effective means of closing all ventilators and other openings thereto; or
(c)to require compliance would be unreasonable on account of the short duration of the voyages on which the ship is engaged.
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