Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have sent two ships to St Vincent to help evacuate residents at risk from a volcanic eruption.

La Soufrière volcano on the eastern Caribbean island has already started erupting and 16,000 residents were evacuated on Thursday, according to the BBC.

Royal Caribbean’s Serenade of the Seas and Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Reflection were expected to arrive on Thursday night.

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, president and chief executive of Celebrity Cruises, tweeted about the line’s evacuation efforts.

A Royal Caribbean Group spokesperson said: “All precautions will be taken to protect the health and safety of the crew and passengers who board our ships.”

Carnival Cruise Line also reportedly sent two ships – Carnival Paradise and Carnival Legend – to the island to help the local population.