• Tom Drake

While in CDC limbo, cruise ships rescue evacuees

Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Celebrity assist in evacuations from St. Vincent.

In a humanitarian effort to assist the evacuation of Saint Vincent Island, Royal Caribbean Celebrity and Carnival cruise lines have dispatched four ships to transport citizens to safety in neighboring islands.

The evacuation of the island became necessary when the La Soufriere volcano became dangerously active. At least two eruptions have occurred, and the island is covered in ash and becoming unsafe for all residents.

The eruptions caused the government in Barbados, a neighboring island, to recommend that all residents stay indoors.

The four ships dispatched to the island were the Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas, Carnival Legend, Carnival Paradise, and Celebrity Reflection. Each cruise ship will carry 1500 evacuees.

The volcano last erupted on April 13, 1979, and a previous eruption in 1902 killed some 1,600 people. The new eruption followed mandatory evacuation orders issued Thursday for the roughly 16,000 people who live in the red zone near the volcano in the island's northern region. More than 2,000 people were staying in 62 government shelters.

"Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said in a press conference, "we have had hiccups here and there ... but by and large, we are proceeding pretty well."

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