Coast Guard, local, state, federal agencies conclude anti-terrorism exercise

FORT EUSTIS, Va. - Crewmembers aboard Coast Guard Cutter Chock assist members of the Newport News HAZMAT team with transferring their equipment and personnel from Fort Eustis to the training vessel in the James River during a simulated terrorist attack May 17, 2011. The three-day exercise simulated multiple attacks, which tested local, state and federal response capabilities in maritime hostage and mass casualty scenarios. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class David R. Marin.

U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer David R. Marin

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard and multiple local, state and federal agencies throughout Hampton Roads concluded a three-day anti-terrorism exercise Thursday.

The exercise simulated multiple terrorist attacks to test response capabilities in maritime hostage and mass casualty scenarios.

The exercise began with a terrorist situation aboard a fictitious vessel in the James River.

The Coast Guard’s Vessel Boarding and Security Team and Virginia State Police’s SWAT team responded after receiving reports that terrorists had taken control of the merchant vessel. While securing the vessel and defusing the terrorist situation the teams came across a suspicious laboratory containing unidentified chemicals.

“Once the vessel was secured, the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Chock acted as the rapid response team,” said Lt. Scott McBride of Sector Hampton Roads. “The crew of the Chock was the first on scene assisting with transporting the different hazardous materials response teams and their equipment.”

The Chock also acted as a safety recovery vessel for the exercise and would also fill that role in the case of a real world event.

The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Seahorse played a part as a communications, command and control platform.

“This was an excellent opportunity to practice multi-agency response capabilities and coordination with our port partners in a simulated terrorist attack in the Port of Hampton Roads,” said McBride.

Other participants in the exercise included representatives from the Navy, Virginia National Guard, Virginia Department of Emergency Management, Virginia Fusion Center, Virginia Port Authority’s Maritime Incident Response Team, Maritime Administration, Tidewater Emergency Medical Services Council, local hospitals, police departments, fire and rescue departments, and state police.

 

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