A secure future

2012 was a year of celebration for international maritime security service provider Ambrey Risk; after an employee level expansion from 11 to 50 at their head office in the space of one year, the company was pronounced winner of the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce award for growth. Viewing itself as different from competitors, it believes being a maritime company that provides security solutions in the shipping industry is the reason behind its success. Business management director James Gasson-Hargreaves explains: “Compared to many of our competitors, who tend to be security providers that joined the maritime market, we like to see ourselves as a maritime company in the shipping industry that offers security. It’s a subtle difference but is perhaps the single factor that has enabled us to grow at the rate we have.” Conscious that security provision is largely viewed as a logistic burden rather than an opportunity by clients, the company aims to offer a flexible, discreet and efficient service with the ability to offer integrated solutions through a single point of contact.

Engaged principally in the provision of armed security for clients transiting the high risk area, the company provides the security support for vessels and crew when needed. Maritime security teams (MSTs) are provided with extensive training, the latest equipment and management support to ensure clients receive appropriately experienced personnel that can give effective security 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Despite an apparent recent decrease in reported numbers of pirate attacks, Ambrey Risk remains vigilant and firmly believes MSTs should remain on vessels to prevent a resurgence. “One area that is of grave concern to the maritime sector is the strategic risk of complacency within the shipping industry against piracy. If you remove armed guard security on vessels there is a likelihood that pirates will return. The threat is generated by the instability of the geo-political situation in East-Africa; the cause. The piracy on the seas is merely the effect, which is mitigated by the sticking plaster of naval activity and MSTs on vessels. If you remove the successful sticking plaster, the cause will remain and the effect will gradually return,” says James.

To ensure customers have a full understanding of the spectrum of quality on offer in the maritime security industry, Ambrey Risk is working towards the implementation of an official national standard of accreditation with the Security in Complex Environment Groups (SCEG) and vocational education awarding body City and Guilds. To prepare for this, the business is greatly expanding its current training capability; “Our company will be the first to provide a single course for a security sector professional, so it will combine all of the courses required to qualify as a maritime security operative, as well as land based programmes, including close protection skills, defensive driving skills, weapon handling skills, and generic skills like trauma medicine and consultancy,” James states. Aware that there is currently an extensive turnover in the UK armed forces, the firm is keen to capitalise on the market of those leaving the military and employ the most competent and qualified, who can offer the very best service to its clients.

Along with other leading companies, Ambrey Risk is providing its subject matter expertise to the national standard accreditation, which will be delivered around June 2013. The aim is for clients to have a full understanding of the quality spectrum on offer in the industry and for the company to cement itself as one of the best options for those interested in the market. “All maritime security operatives, including those working for us now, will be invited to sit the relevant exam, which means those wanting to effectively work in this market will have to go through this standard. As a company we feel comfortable being at the front end of that,” explains James.

As the shipping market has suffered dramatically in recent years, Ambrey Risk has evolved to offer a fully compliant and credible product that is also responsive and flexible to the price sensitivity of shipping today. An array of capabilities are available to ensure affordable security solutions are possible for all clients. The company provides capability to various sized vessels and operations, ranging from complex seismic serving vessels to chemical carriers and dry bulkers. Its services operate out of ports surrounding the Indian ocean, allowing all vessels to be supported and deployed without overly interfering with a customers own route planning. The company is proud of its flexibility regarding embarkation and disembarkation, which is made possible by its dedication to ensuring the enabling paperwork in support of maritime security teams, and the licensing and certification supporting its weapons systems, is in perfect order. A recent successful project involved a tug and tow of an offshore natural gas structure from Oman to Sri Lanka, which included the harbouring and protection of the vessel, training with crew and selection of route. “We are very conscious that every nautical mile and every minute of a transit must be calculated and incorporated into the commercial arithmetic of the client. Delay or additional mileage has an effect in only one way on the balance sheet. It is in this context that we plan and deliver our operations, with flexibility to the clients’ needs, but with ruthless efficiency in the execution,” says James.

To ensure resilience to any future market changes, Ambrey Risk will continue to adapt to the needs of its shipping clients. “The nature and shape of the security provision we offer will morph and evolve with the needs of the client,” says James. With an incredible year of growth behind it, Ambrey Risk is now proudly setting and implementing standards for the maritime industry.

Ambrey Risk
Armed guard security specialists for on and offshore projects
Won a Chamber of Commerce award for growth in 2012
Now implementing training standards and accreditations for the industry