The operation to save more than 1,000 people held hostage in Somalia is under way in Somalia, with the first ship to be deployed, Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, to assist the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The ship, which is named after a Red Sea merchant ship, will arrive in the country on Thursday.
The mission began on Thursday, when the Red Sea-based ICRC arrived in the Somali capital of Mogadishu to assist in the rescue efforts.
A number of other ships have been dispatched, including one to assist rescue efforts in the northern port city of Mukalla.
The ICRC has deployed more than 20 vessels to the region to help in the relief effort, with ships also on their way to aid the search and rescue operations.
The Somali government says it is preparing for the arrival of the ship and hopes to receive it on Thursday morning.
Somalia is one of the most unstable places in the world, and many people have been killed or are still missing.
The government has appealed for help in tracking down those missing, with a hashtag #BringBackOurSomaliPeople trending on Twitter.
The United Nations says more than 8,000 Somalis have been displaced since the outbreak began, and more than half of the country’s population has been forced from their homes.