The 155 metre-long Aztec Maiden, carrying 21 crew and no cargo, was stranded 200 metres from the beach of Wijk aan Zee, near the Dutch port of IJmuiden, northwest of Amsterdam.
Hundreds of local people gathered on the beach to watch the stranded vessel. A local salvage firm will try to refloat the ship at high tide, around 1200 GMT, the coastguard said.
The Aztec Maiden left the port of Amsterdam on Thursday night, entering the North Sea through IJmuiden. The ship’s owner, TBS, could not be reached for comment.
The ship’s captain raised the alarm with the coastguard early on Friday when the vessel drifted towards the shore after a failed attempt to anchor, Jan Regeling of the Dutch coastguard told Reuters.
“We do not yet know why the ship could not anchor. The police will start investigating the matter, but our first priority is to refloat this ship as soon as possible”, he said, adding that such accidents were rare for large vessels.
There were no signs of fuel leaking, but coastguards were flying over the area to check for damage.