A fire aboard the Panamanian-registered car carrier ship Fremantle Highway, 23 kilometers north of Terschelling, after a fire broke out on the Fremantle Highway. Image Credit: AFP

A ship burning off the coast of the Netherlands with thousands of automobiles on board may be towed to another location as soon as this weekend, authorities said.

In a statement late Friday, the Dutch coast guard said a more secure towline was established as temperatures on the Fremantle Highway had cooled and a recovery crew was able to board the stricken vessel. The ship can be moved to "a new, temporary anchorage, as soon as smoke development and weather forecasts allow," it said.

The towing will likely start this weekend and take 12 to 14 hours, according to a separate post by the Dutch infrastructure ministry. The situation will be reviewed after that.

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The Panama-flagged Fremantle Highway, laden with almost 3,800 vehicles "- including nearly 500 electric cars "- caught fire on Tuesday. It was en route to Port Said, Egypt, and Singapore after a recent stop in the German port of Bremerhaven, according to ship-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg. The crew had to be rescued by helicopter and one person died amid efforts to extinguish the blaze.

As of 5 p.m. local time Friday, the fire was still "raging" but the smoke was dissipating, the coast guard said. The ship was 23 kilometers (14 miles) north of Terschelling, a town that's part of the West Frisian Islands in a UNESCO world heritage site area.