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The Merchant Shipping (Passenger Ship Construction: Ships of Classes III to VI(A)) Regulations 1998

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Structural strength

6.  The structural strength of every ship shall be sufficient for the service for which the ship is intended.

Construction of watertight bulkheads

7.—(1) Every portion of the ship required by these Regulations to be watertight shall be constructed in accordance with such of the requirements of Schedule 4 in Merchant Shipping Notice MSN 1699(M) as apply to it.

(2) All tanks forming part of the structure of the ship and used for the storage of oil fuel or other liquids including double bottoms, peak tanks, settling tanks and bunkers shall be of a design and construction adequate for that purpose.

Watertight subdivision

8.  Every subdivided ship shall be subdivided by bulkheads, which shall be watertight up to the bulkhead deck, into compartments the maximum length of which shall be calculated in accordance with such of the provisions of Section 2 of Schedule 2 in Merchant Shipping Notice MSN 1699(M) as apply to that ship. Every other portion of the internal structure which affects the efficiency of the subdivision of the ship shall be watertight, and shall be of a design which will maintain the integrity of the subdivision.

Peak and machinery space bulkheads, shaft tunnels

9.—(1) Every subdivided ship shall be provided with a collision bulkhead which shall be watertight up to the bulkhead deck and shall be fitted at a distance from the ship’s forward perpendicular of not less than five per cent of the length of the ship and not more than three metres plus five per cent of such length. If the ship has a forward superstructure, the collision bulkhead shall be extended weathertight to the deck next above the bulkhead deck. The extension shall not be required to be fitted directly over the bulkhead below, provided that it is at least five per cent of the length of the ship from the forward perpendicular and the part of the bulkhead deck which forms the step is made effectively weathertight. A collision bulkhead need not be provided if the design of the ship, its service or its operation makes its fitting unnecessary.

(2) Every such ship shall be provided with a watertight afterpeak bulkhead and with watertight bulkheads, dividing the space appropriate to the main and auxiliary propelling machinery (and boilers if any) from other spaces. Such bulkheads shall be watertight up to the bulkhead deck provided that the afterpeak bulkhead may be stopped below the bulkhead deck if the safety of the ship as regards subdivision is not thereby impaired.

(3) The stern gland of every such ship shall be situated in a watertight shaft tunnel or other watertight space separate from the stern tube compartment and of such a volume that if the tunnel or space is flooded the margin line will not be submerged.

Additional requirements for ships constructed on or after 1st September 1984

(4) Where bow doors are fitted and a sloping loading ramp forms part of the extension of the collision bulkhead above the bulkhead deck, any part of the ramp structure which is more than 2.3 metres above the bulkhead deck may extend forward of the limit specified in paragraph (1). The ramp shall form a complete weathertight closure of the collision bulkhead extension above the bulkhead deck.


10.  On a subdivided ship the bulkhead deck or a deck above the bulkhead deck shall be weathertight. All openings in an exposed weathertight deck shall have coamings of adequate height and strength and shall be provided with efficient and rapid means of closing so as to make them weathertight. Freeing ports, open rails and scuppers shall be fitted as necessary for rapidly clearing the weather deck of water under all weather conditions.

Partial subdivision above the bulkhead deck

11.  On subdivided ships all reasonable and practicable measures shall be taken to limit, where necessary, the entry and spread of water above the bulkhead deck. Such measures may include partial bulkheads or webs. Where such partial watertight bulkheads and webs are fitted on the bulkhead deck, above or in the immediate vicinity of main subdivision bulkheads, they shall have watertight shell and bulkhead deck connections so as to restrict the flow of water along the deck when the ship is heeled in a damaged condition. Where such partial watertight bulkheads do not coincide with the bulkheads below, the bulkhead deck between shall be made effectively watertight.

Openings in watertight bulkheads

12.  Bulkheads required by these Regulations to be watertight shall not be pierced by doorways, ventilation trunks or other similar openings, unless such openings are essential for the proper working of the ship and do not impair the ship’s survivability standard.

Openings in the shell plating below the bulkhead deck

13.—(1) In every subdivided ship the number of sidescuttles, scuppers, sanitary discharges and other openings in the shell below the bulkhead deck shall be the minimum compatible with the design and proper working of the ship. Every such sidescuttle shall be a non-opening type and shall be fitted with efficient hinged deadlights permanently attached so that it can be readily and effectively closed and secured watertight.

(2) The arrangements for closing every such opening below the bulkhead deck shall be consistent with its intended purpose and shall be such as will ensure watertightness.

(3) In every subdivided ship the design and operation of openings in the shell plating below the bulkhead deck shall take into account the specifications set out in Schedule 10 in Merchant Shipping Notice MSN 1699(M).

Side and other openings above the bulkhead deck

14.—(1) In every subdivided ship, sidescuttles, windows, gangway ports, cargo ports, bunkering ports and other openings in the shell above the bulkhead deck and their means of closing shall be of efficient design and construction and of sufficient strength having regard to the spaces in which they are fitted and to their positions relative to the deepest subdivision load waterline and to the intended service of the ship. All sidescuttles and windows shall be manufactured to standards recognised by the Certifying Authority.

(2) In every subdivided ship efficiently hinged deadlights, which can be easily closed and secured watertight, shall be provided for all sidescuttles to spaces below the first deck above the bulkhead deck and, in the case of a ship which is marked with a summer load line, to all sidescuttles in an enclosed superstructure.

(3) In every subdivided ship which is marked with a summer load line, each discharge led through the shell above the margin line from a space below the freeboard deck or from within any enclosed superstructure or from within any deckhouse on the freeboard deck which is fitted with weathertight doors, shall take into account the requirements of paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 10 in Merchant Shipping Notice MSN 1699(M) with efficient means for preventing water from passing inboard.

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