Three day naval preparedness exercise held off California coast

A recent exercise off the coast of Malibu, California, tested how law enforcement would handle a biological or chemical attack that originated offshore.

The three day offshore drill, known as the Coastal Trident Regional Maritime Training Security Exercise, included members of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and local law enforcement participating in a variety of scenarios, according to

In one scenario involving chemical weapons, a small motorboat caught the eye of Sheriff's Deputy Jeff Bosket. Boskett, who is assigned to a federal anti-smuggling task force, explained why the boat was raised concerns.

"You've got a vessel like this one that's sitting out here. It's free-floating," Boskett said, reports. "There's no anchor. There's multiple people on board. There's no fishing poles that are sticking out of it. You're going to want to identify why that vessel is stopped."

As part of the scenario, the boat was considered to have been contaminated with mustard agent that terrorists had intended to bring to shore. Their operations backfired, and those onboard were sickened from exposure to the chemical.

The Sheriff's 55-foot Ocean Rescue 2 was equipped with sensors capable of detecting chemical and biological weapons, so the deputies were able to prepare for what followed. They wore hazmat suits and were armed with assault rifles as they drew up to, but did not board the vessel.

"We had suspects who were injured," Sheriff's Sgt. Mick Kelleher, said, reports. "We had to (decontaminate) them before we brought them on board to be treated by paramedics."

In total, nearly 30 local, state and federal agencies are taking part in the exercise. It was planned and created by the Port of Hueneme in partnership with the Naval Postgraduate School's Center for Asymmetric Warfare.