A secure future

One of the leading maritime security companies globally, Ambrey Risk offers a fresh approach to security risk management through the provision of a quality service that is highly responsive to the needs of the shipping community. Previously featured in Shipping & Marine magazine in February 2013, maritime security provider Ambrey Risk has continued its success story over the last 17 months, as founder and managing director John Thompson highlights: “The company has expanded significantly since February 2013, especially overseas; the armed guard business has become a highly globalised, volume business and we have been highly focused on becoming the leader provider in a new sector. In the last 12 months we have set up a number of offices around the world, including new corporate headquarters in Dubai, as well as offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Korea to ensure we are locally available to our client base.

“In terms of the volume of armed guards Ambrey Risk employs, we have probably doubled in size over the last 12 months. A major part of our growth stems from our decision to move with the market towards guards of an international origin, rather than purely British Guards. We started making this move early in 2012 and this has paid dividends and reflects the majority of market demand at the current time. Meanwhile, there has also been growth in compliance requirements over the last 12 months, and we have sought to be in the vanguard on this front. We have taken a leading role in writing the UK firearms training standard and the City and Guilds Maritime Security Operator Standard. We recognised that international training certifications were essential for the longevity of our business and have sought to move discussion on armed guard standards away from that of nationality and more on to military experience and internationally accredited civilian training standards. As the first maritime security company to be registered with Manipal City and Guilds in India we have now trained all of our Indian guards to the City and Guilds standard. This development means all of Ambrey Risk’s guards, whether Indian or British, all undergo the same standard of training. This single standard, regardless of nationality has been our goal from the outset and reflects the attitudes of our clients.

“Every month we put approximately 30-50 Indian guards through their paces, which involves a one-week-long theory course and exam before two days of practical live firing assessment in India. Once they have passed the course and received training certificates, they will then be accredited to work for us,” explains John.

Fully licensed by the UK Government to purchase, export and operate firearms for projects overseas, Ambrey Risk has proven itself to be a staunch supporter of regulatory compliance across the industry. Consistently following stringent internal quality assurance and management processes, the company was the first in the industry to achieve the ISO 9001:2008 accreditation for the provision of maritime security services for vessels with LRQA in August 2012. Not a company to rest on its laurels, Ambrey Risk went on to successfully gain the ISO/PAS 28007 certification from LRQA in November 2014, which further demonstrates its commitment to providing quality security management services that fully safeguard seafarers against potential risks at sea. Ambrey is also currently pursuing ISO 14001 and 18001 and are confident of certification this year.

With the armed guard sector facing a significant amount of commercial pressure over the last six months, the company has made strategic changes to enhance services and lower costs for customers. Aware that security provision is viewed as a logistic burden by many potential clients – who may be looking to save money in an economically turbulent environment – the company is keen to offer a flexible approach that is cost effective but provides the right standard of safety and security for vessels and crew in the current environment. Striving to develop close relationships with customers to ensure a comprehensive understanding of their unique requirements, Ambrey Risk is committed to the protection of its clients’ assets and interests and seeks to be seen as a business enabling partner rather than just another supplier.

Since taking over the role of managing director in the UK in January 2014, John has witnessed first hand the challenges faced by security providers. Nevertheless, he believes the diversification and strengthening of services in line with the needs of the market brings opportunities: “As the number of piracy attacks has reduced people have questioned how long the armed guard sector will last in the shipping industry; however, having recently won two 24 month contracts, we see this as a sign that larger companies still see armed guards as a medium term solution to piracy,” he states.

While Ambrey Risk’s two other founders develop the company’s international exposure through its new headquarters in Dubai, John is enthusiastic about the future of the company while also remaining vigilant to evolution of piracy. “Now that we are based overseas we no longer face the challenge of having clients in the Middle East and Asia who are a great distance away. This move has allowed us to be closer to our clients and to therefore provide them with the best possible support. We are very committed to the maritime security sector and always say that we are a business enabling business; we want our customers to be able to trade anywhere in the world, and for them to do this we need to ensure we deliver a good service. Looking ahead, I think piracy will continue to evolve around the world; we want to stay ahead of it to continue meeting the needs of the shipping market.”


Armed guard security specialists
Training centres in India and Sri Lanka
Strongly supports regulatory compliance