USS Ashland Leaves Saipan Ahead of Storm; Marines Stay Behind

Sailors from the Navy Beach Party Team launch the Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo Vehicle out of the well deck of the USS Ashland during disaster relief efforts in Saipan on Aug. 13, 2015. David A. Cox/U.S. Navy
Sailors from the Navy Beach Party Team launch the Lighter Amphibious Resupply Cargo Vehicle out of the well deck of the USS Ashland during disaster relief efforts in Saipan on Aug. 13, 2015. David A. Cox/U.S. Navy

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan -- USS Ashland is leaving typhoon-battered Saipan ahead of a potential tropical storm, but Marines assisting the island's aid efforts will remain, military officials said Friday.

The military's Joint Typhoon Warning Center issued a warning Friday morning that tropical depression 16W was moving 376 miles east-southeast of Guam, which is roughly 90 miles south of Saipan.

The depression had developed maximum sustained winds of 29 mph on Friday morning, with a 48-hour prediction of 52 mph sustained winds.

A typhoon watch has been issued for Saipan and Tinian, and a tropical-storm watch for Rota and Guam, according to the National Weather Service on Guam.

The Ashland arrived Aug. 8 to assist the U.S. commonwealth island, which is recovering from an Aug. 3 strike by Typhoon Soudelor that has left Saipan's 50,000 people without power and running water. Sasebo, Japan-based sailors and Marines from Okinawa's 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit have helped distributed drinking water, generators and other critical supplies.

Navy ships typically leave piers during storms to avoid damage to ships and piers, officials said Friday.

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