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Maritime security firms pull UK guards from ships bound for the Gulf

The Financial Times is reporting that maritime security firms are pulling British guards off transits through the Gulf over fears they could be targeted for capture by the Iranians.

Two well known maritime security companies, Ambrey and Maritime Asset Security and Training (MAST), are known to be among those to have replaced UK citizens with guards from other countries as tanker tensions between Iran and Britain remain high.

The UK-flagged Stena Bulk product tanker Stena Impero and its 23 crew were seized on July 19 and remain detained in Iranian waters, as retaliation for UK armed forces detaining an Iranian VLCC off Gibraltar at the start of last month.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.


  1. MarSec operatives are not on board vessels to counter any approaches from sovereign forces and they are not there to become embroiled in any active dispute.
    The purpose of MarSec operators is to dissuade and repel piracy attacks from individual criminals but, if the attack is sustained, the MarSec operatives are not supposed to directly engage and certainly not to kill attackers.
    The current situation in the Gulf with Iranian State forces effectively arresting merchant vessels (whether justified or not) is not a situation where MarSec operatives would be either present on board nor appropriate.

  2. Martyn
    your comments are very ill informed if you believe MarSec operatives are not supposed to directly engage and certainly not to kill attackers.
    The intent is to stop the attackers taking control of the ship.

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