Emergency officials say the crew of a freighter carrying fertilizer has abandoned the ship off the German coast because of the risk of explosion.

Residents along the North Sea coast in the region around Bremerhaven had reported a strong smell, likely caused by fumes from the ship.

Germany's Central Command for Maritime Emergencies said in a statement Wednesday that residents should keep windows and doors shut as a precaution.

The dpa news agency reported that the crew of the Purple Beach, flagged in the Marshall Islands, had noticed smoke coming from the ship's hold late Monday. The 22 crew members and a team of firefighters sent onto the ship were brought back to land late Tuesday.

No serious injuries were reported.