Collision bulkhead. (Sometimes called a forepeak bulkhead.) All vessels must be fitted with a minimum number of bulkheads. (See Bulkheads above.)
The most important is the collision bulkhead fitted forward. The bow of a ship involved in a collision has a serious chance of being damaged. The damage can be very severe. Therefore a heavy bulkhead is specified by the Classification Society and also under the SOLAS 1974/1978 Convention. The collision bulkhead must be watertight up to the uppermost continuous deck (the “freeboard deck”) and located at a distance from the forward perpendicular of between 5 per cent and 8 per cent of the ship’s length or 10 metres, whichever is more. There are other criteria for collision bulkheads, which need not be set out in detail here. Reference to the relevant document containing the Rules and regulations of a Classification Society and also the SOLAS Convention will assist with the details.
The main object in constructing a collision bulkhead is to prevent flooding of the forward hold in case of collision. In practice, the collision bulkhead on board cargo ships is placed at the minimum distance in order to obtain the greatest cargo space in the forward hold.