Firefighters in Seattle were joined by the US Coast Guard in battling a potentially explosive blaze on a petrol-carrying container ship in the west of the city.

The containers on the ship were reportedly packed with petrol, causing a HazMat (hazardous materials) team to rush to the scene as the fire broke out at around 3.30pm (PDT), Q13 Fox reported.

At least 100 firefighters and members of the Coast Guard were involved in the delicate operation to ensure chemicals from inside the containers did not leak into the Duwamish River.

The containers were sprayed with water from fire engines – the ones which were not alight were removed from the barge so as to minimise the spread of the flames.

Pictures and footage from the scene show a plume of smoke rising from the containers as emergency services attempt to tackle the blaze, which was under control by 7pm (PDT).