La Soufrière volcano on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent "explosively" erupted on Friday morning, spreading ash across surrounding villages, the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre said.
Reiterating the government's pledge to support St Vincent during the event, the Ministry said that they stand in solidarity with those in the volcano's path.
Authorities on the island have reported no casualties so far; St Vincent has seen a number of fatal volcanic eruptions in the past. The islands of St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados and Antigua said they would accept evacuees.
He said two Royal Caribbean cruise ships are expected to arrive by Friday and a third one in the coming days, as well as two Carnival cruise ships due to arrive by Friday.
Overnight, hundreds of persons were evacuating by road and sea to shelters, relatives and friends in the safe zone.
"Of course, large numbers of persons still would have to stay in the shelters but the more we get persons who can go into homes and who can go into the hotels and the guest houses, whether here or outside of St Vincent and the Grenadines, we should do so".
All precautions will be taken to protect the health and safety of the crew and passengers who board our ships.
"I don't want you panicked", he instructed. "That is the worst thing to do".
The eastern Caribbean is a highly volcanic region with as many as 19 active volcanoes spread out across 11 islands. Most notably, the eruption of 1902 killed many Indigenous Black Caribs, who had been banished by the British colonial government to live at Sandy Bay in the shadow of the volcano.
A team from the seismic center arrived in St. Vincent in late December after the volcano had an effusive eruption.
Whether hurricanes, earthquakes, or other calamities, Royal Caribbean has traditionally stepped up with humanitarian aid and assistance.