Each ship has a fire and emergency response plan. The most important part of the plan is to prevent fire or an emergency. The ship must at all times be properly maintained and the crew is ready and trained in safety. When a ship has a serious accident it can have a severe impact on the environment and place the crew at risk from injury and death.
The ship's crew is trained to respond to fire and other emergencies. They have regular training exercises and the ship's communication system is regularly tested. The ship has its own fire-fighting equipment which is regularly maintained.
The crew needs to understand how to fight different types of fire depending on the kind of cargo they are carrying.
Fires can be attacked by pumping seawater through fire hoses. If too much water enters the ship, the ship can become unstable and sink. It only takes a limited amount of water in open spaces in the ship such as car decks and cargo holds to make the ship roll over and sink.