It is a giant conglomeration of parts-- thousands of tons of steel, miles of electric wires, fuel and water pipes, ventilation & heating & cooling ducts, and so on. Fill it up with people and countless other things-- many of which are flammable or can sink! There are so many things that can threaten the safety of the crew and the seaworthiness of the vessel.
Damage Control is critical to the survival of the ship, in war or in peacetime.
While on board the Harry S. Truman in September 2015, I got to witness a common but very important training event, conducted by the crew-- a GQ (General Quarters) Drill.
"General Quarters" is regularly sounded to keep the crew sharp, and on their toes, ready for any contingency. Every crewman has a duty station when this happens, and they all rush to their battle stations, put on their gear, and do drills. It's a very interesting thing to watch, and it makes you admire the efficiency and teamwork the Navy engages in with every sailor and section on board a naval vessel.
"Fire Drill in Aft D.C." 2015, oil on canvas, 20" x 24"
Here are some of the Fire Control related sketches I did while visiting the destroyer USS Carney (DDG-64):