IMSA is a high end specialist maritime security company with three areas of business: consultancy, operations and training. The company has just the one office in Poole from which these three areas are orchestrated, and the Poole office is constantly in touch with a large network of Associates around the UK and in Norway.
Three of IMSA’s four directors are former sea-going Royal Navy and Royal Marines people with more than 10 years each in commerce and the shipping and maritime security industries. They started the company in 2007 after working for another maritime security company in London. Whilst the company has worked in most of the world’s recent trouble spots, it has been particularly successful with extended projects in the Middle East and West Africa.
The company structure has intentionally been kept taut and simple to retain the ability to react quickly and personally to a client’s requirements and changes, but it has the necessary critical mass to be able to surge and expand rapidly in response to the larger project’s needs.
IMSA Associates are certificated ISPS Code instructors and surveyors, ship & small craft operators and captains, project managers and security operatives. All possess a wide range of associated commercial maritime & military qualifications and skills.
All our Associates have first-hand, in-depth knowledge of the shipping industry and the provision of maritime security. This knowledge comes in large part from skills learned in the UK Armed Forces and subsequently put into practice in commercial and military operations worldwide.
Typically, Associates have lengthy military service in some of the foremost MCT/Maritime Security organisations. Others have Police/Law Enforcement backgrounds. Once out of the Armed Services, their experiences have been in commercial vessels, cruise ships, super yachts and offshore installations. All are STCW- rated and carry Seaman’s Books.
IMSA offers expertise, skills, and comprehensive links and contacts across the maritime security industry. All this, combined with an affinity with the latest technology, helps clients arrive at cost-effective solutions to their maritime security needs, invariably improving their operational effectiveness at the same time.
IMSA’s people are truly multi-facetted and can turn their professionalism to most areas of maritime endeavour including:
- All aspects of ISPS Code implementation
- Maritime counter-terrorism
- Ship and port operations
- Risk and threat assessment
- Security for the Cruise and Mega/Super yacht industries
- Chemical, oil, gas and mineral exploitation on and offshore
- Cable laying / ROV Diving operations
- Maritime Leisure Industry
- Seamanship and ship handling in the maritime security environment
- Project Management Coordination
- Close Protection
- Team leadership
Chief Operations Officer and Lead Director
John Twiss is a security and risk consultant in the port and shipping industry and a small boat operations expert, and additionally has experience of hotel, election and aviation security. John is currently involved in ongoing ISPS code training, consultancy and general marsec provision and is retained by a large Dutch construction company for ISPS consultancy for the port of Cotenou, Benin.
In 2010 John was involved in an incident off E Africa where he took the crew to the citadel when the unarmed vessel to whom he was providing MSLO services, was boarded under fire from a PAG. In 2009, he was the start-up project manager for an offshore patrol and guarding task in the Northern Persian Gulf, and advised the procurement, training and procedures for the force.
Formerly a Royal Marines Colour Sergeant, small ship commander and landing craft specialist, he has several years operational time in UK Special Forces. Since leaving the Corps he has amassed considerable additional security experience as a trainer, cruise ship security officer, and Super Yacht Master. He has also specialised in West Africa as an offshore/onshore security manager in the Niger Delta and been a project co-ordinator for a Nigerian Government maritime security initiative.
He was a key member of the team that audited security for the Nigerian Ports and offshore instillations at the outset of ISPS code implementation and has worked as a manager on other maritime security related tasks in Nigeria for Shell and Chevron, Benin (Ongoing), Liberia, E Africa, GoA, Kuwait, Dubai, Mozambique, the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, Red Sea, South America, South Pacific, Haiti and the Russian Federation (Sakhalin).
He attended business management and maritime security induction courses on leaving the Royal Marines, and is a qualified MCA/DfT/DNV maritime security trainer, ISPS Code assessor and plan approver. John has trained over 1300 personnel on PFSO/SSO/PDSD/CSO courses, 320 of those in Nigeria.
Chief Training Officer
Nick Williams is IMSA’s Chief Training Officer a role he took over in May 2010. He is a former Royal Marines senior non commissioned officer with wide operational experience, including UN peace keeping duties in many parts of the world. His last five years in the Royal Marines was spent in a naval intelligence role in an operational theatre and his duties included the collection and dissemination of intelligence on terrorist and organised crime organisations. He also assisted with planning counter terrorism/organised crime operations. He was the intelligence liaison officer with responsibilities for personnel security, liaising and coordinating with local, national and international police forces as well as various security services.
After retiring from the Royal Marines he had a varied career including two years in Iraq working for a private security company as a senior team leader providing security to personnel employed by a multi- national oil company. Here he was promoted to the training department and assisted with the planning and delivery of continuation training to both the security personnel and the clients. He delivered induction packages for all security personnel “coming in country” which included weapon training, company SOP’s and ground familiarisation.
Nick is a fully qualified DfT and MCA ISPS code instructor, Code assessor and plan approver. He has assisted port facilities with the implementation of the ISPS code in many countries worldwide and carried out piracy specific audits on vessels in the oil and gas sector. Nick is a highly experienced maritime security instructor and has trained over 500 personnel of different nationalities, including many Middle Eastern countries, Nepalese, Fijians, Indians, Filipinos, Europeans and Americans in maritime security including PFSO/SSO/CSO courses.
Chairman, Chief of Staff and Business Developer
Chris Ellison is IMSA Chairman, chief of staff and business developer. In 2000, he became the first director of a new trade association for the international maritime industry- Maritime London – before focusing more closely on maritime security matters as the operations director for Maritime & Underwater Security Consultants. Prior to joining IMSA full time, he worked as project manager for shallow water submarine cable laying operations in the UK, Channel Islands, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Egypt. Mr Ellison left the Royal Navy as a One Star flag officer after 37 years service which included extensive sea command and Whitehall experience, was co-founder (with a British Army Brigadier) of the Nigerian National War College and the flotilla commander of 52 warships.
In this latter appointment, he was pivotally involved in providing 4 re-roled warships for an interdiction and patrolling task in Northern Ireland. He is educated to ‘A’ level in science subjects, and staff trained at Greenwich and Bracknell, the RAF staff college. On leaving the Navy, he undertook business management and maritime security induction courses and became a qualified DfT maritime security trainer, ISPS Code assessor and plan approver. Whilst in Nigeria with MUSC, amongst other work for PICOMSS he had some exposure to the Maritime Domain Awareness Project. He lectures widely, most recently to an international LNG conference in Doha on the challenges of ensuring LNG transportation’s security.