A burnt-out car transport ship was towed to a northern Dutch port on Thursday more than a week after catching fire at sea, averting a feared environmental disaster.

The Fremantle Highway arrived at Eemshaven port after a journey from a holding position, with local media images showing tugs dragging the scorched ship into the harbour.

One sailor died and 22 others were rescued after the Panamanian-flagged ship, carrying hundreds of electric cars among more than 3,700 vehicles, caught fire off the Dutch coast on July 25.

"I can confirm the ship has arrived in Eemshaven," Jente Wieldraaijer, a spokesperson for the regional safety authority told AFP.

The blaze had raised the spectre of an ecological disaster on the nearby Wadden chain of islands, an area spanning the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

While the situation had been largely under control for several days, bad weather in the North Sea raised further concerns it could leak oil or even sink while being towed to port.

The vessel had previously been anchored at a holding position 16 kilometres (10 miles) north of the islands of Schiermonnikoog and Ameland, where it was towed over Sunday and Monday.

A boat designed for cleaning up oil spills remained near the ship throughout the journey.

The cause of the fire remains unclear, although the vessel's owner has said one of the electric vehicles on board may have been the source.

According to Japan-based K Line, the ship's charter company, the freighter was carrying 3,783 new cars, including 498 electric vehicles.

Some crew members were forced to jump overboard from significant heights after it caught fire and a number were taken to hospital.