A watchstander aboard USS Ashland (LSD 48) looks for other vessels as the ship transits the South China Sea. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Carl King)

SOUTH CHINA SEA - The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) completed a multi-day transit of the South China Sea as the ship continues to operate in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations, July 1.

Routine transits like this, conducted in international waters, demonstrate the U.S. Navy’s commitment to protecting the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea and airspace guaranteed to all countries.

"Our transit of the South China Sea highlights our unwavering commitment and capacity to sail in international waters, respecting and safeguarding the rights afforded all mariners,” said Cmdr. Dan Duhan, commanding officer of Ashland.

The transit followed Ashland’s recent port visit to Singapore. Ashland has been deployed to participate in the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training series in Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand.

Ashland is forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan and operates in the U.S. 7th Fleet to support a full range of theater contingencies, ranging from humanitarian and disaster relief operations, to full combat operations in the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet area of operations.