Our Company


IMSA is a specialist maritime security company with three pillars: Consultancy, Operations and Training. The company’s Head Office is in Poole from where all activity is co-ordinated, and there are satellite offices in Falmouth and London.  Poole is constantly in touch with a large network of Associates in the UK, Spain and Norway.

Two of IMSA’s three directors are former sea-going Royal Navy officers, and all three have more than 10 years each in commerce and the shipping and maritime security industries. Whilst IMSA has worked in most of the world’s trouble spots, it has been particularly active with extended projects in the Middle East, West Africa and Central America.

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. It nevertheless has the necessary critical mass to be able to surge and expand rapidly in response to the needs of the larger project.

Our People

As the company name suggests, ‘Our People’ are known as ‘Associates’.  IMSA’s Associates are drawn from certificated ISPS Code instructors and surveyors, ship & small craft operators and captains, project managers, assessors and security operatives. Several fill all of these roles.  Together they summon-up a wide range of associated commercial maritime & military qualifications and skills.

All have first-hand detailed knowledge of the shipping industry and the provision of maritime security. This knowledge comes principally from skills learned in the UK Armed Forces and put into practice in subsequent commercial and military operations.

Many Associates have extensive military service in Maritime Counter Terrorism and Maritime Security organisations. Others have Police/Law Enforcement backgrounds. Many have continued their careers 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 IMSA’s clients arrive at cost-effective solutions to their maritime security needs, invariably improving the client’s operational effectiveness at the same time.


IMSA’s Associates are multi-facetted and can turn their experience to most areas of maritime endeavor.  They are capable of:

  • Providing unarmed Maritime Security Liaison Officers (MSLOs) for all types of commercial ships, and super yachts
  • Providing unarmed MSLOs for maritime operations – e.g. sub-sea cable/pipe laying and shore landing, offshore operations
  • Undertaking Piracy Specific Security Audits (PSSAs)
  • Overseeing ship hardening and compliance with BMP4
  • Conducting maritime and security risk assessments; constructing mitigation plans
  • Conducting inspections of ports, port facilities and Floating Production, Storage & Offloading Units (FPSOs) on behalf of governments for continuing compliance with the ISPS Code
  • Conducting drills and exercises for ships, port facilities and offshore installations
  • Project managing maritime operations – e.g. shore end landing of sub-sea cables: bringing ports into compliance with the ISPS Code
  • Operating landing, patrol and fast interdiction craft for clients


Providing in-country Recognised Security Organisation services to:

    • Governments’ Designated Authorities to manage day-to-day implementation of, and compliance with the ISPS Code within their port facilities
    • Flag States for implementation of, and compliance with the ISPS Code for flagged vessels


Inspecting and recommending foreign government approval or rejection of:

  • Ship Security Assessments and Ship Security Plans for vessels flagged in their country
  • Port and Port Facility Security Assessments and Security Plans for ports and port facilities in their country
  • Auditing and evaluating maritime security provision and effectiveness of security training in ports and port facilities, and on board ships and offshore installations
  • Assessing competencies of seagoing personnel for insurance underwriters
  • Advising on maritime operations in mined waters and explosive dumping grounds
  • Advising on port operations in the wake of natural disasters or conflict
  • Assisting, principally with maritime security provision, Front End Engineering Designs for new build coastal plant – e.g. LNG production facilities
  • Developing and creating maritime security policy for government and other clients
  • Providing Subject Matter Expertise to government and international studies, usually under sub-contract to the lead study consultant
  • Training Ships Security Officers and Company Security Officers up to certificated ISPS Code standards

Chris Ashcroft

Managing Director

Chris Ashcroft is a widely acknowledged expert in maritime security and a founding director of IMSA Ltd. He has always held a firm belief that ship security is best achieved by unarmed security operatives and properly trained ships crews.  Chris has spent his working life in the international maritime security business, and for the last 10 years has worked both as a consultant and as a director at the highest levels of maritime risk assessment and mitigation.

Chris was Operations Director and then Technical Director at Maritime and Underwater Security Consultants for 4 years, covering the development of Vessel Shield and anti-piracy solutions for the Indian Ocean and subsequently security planning for survey projects in the North Arabian Gulf.  Prior to MUSC he worked as experiment director in a UK defence consortium specialising in underwater experimentation, and for for a Norwegian Defence contractor on unmanned underwater vehicle projects.

Chris began his career in the Royal Navy as a seaman officer and has commanded surface warships and served at managerial level in the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall.

He is a member of the Industry Steering Group of the Security Association for the Maritime Industry and is also a Member of The Society for Underwater Technology

Christopher Ellison

Executive Director

Chris Ellison is a seafarer who in the last 15 years, has specialised in identifying, assessing and mitigating risk in the shipping and maritime industries. He brings to IMSA wide experience of operating ships and craft in unfriendly waters and has been closely involved since inception in the development of enhanced security for ships and ports in the wake of the ISPS Code.

In 2012-13, Chris secured, managed and delivered a globally significant maritime security project in Mexico and Central America.   Prior to joining IMSA in 2006, he was Operations Director for Maritime & Underwater Security Consultants in 2002.  Here he led projects in the UK, Nigeria, Italy, Belgium, the Channel Islands, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Egypt.  Before this, he had established Maritime London as a new industry trade association that continues to flourish.

On leaving school Chris joined the Royal Navy as a seaman officer.  He commanded surface warships worldwide and worked as a director in the Ministry of Defence in Whitehall.

He is a member of the Nautical Institute and a Younger Brother of Trinity House.

Alan Robertson

Business Development Director

Alan is a top-flight businessman who since Cambridge University has worked as an international executive for several firms in the seagoing container industry.  A large part of the maritime security of ships and ports lies in the security of the supply chain. Alan provides expert knowledge of many aspects of container shipping and the supply chain, and is also available for invaluable sector commercial advice to IMSA.

Before joining IMSA, Alan – as General Manager Operations P&O Containers – led the successful merger with Nedlloyd Lines container management.  With this change management experience behind him, he subsequently managed the merger of CP Ships container fleet with Hapag-Lloyd’s following the latter’s purchase of CP Ships.  He was also managing director of Cambridge Refrigeration Technology, and senior director CP Ships Container Supply.  He established Webster Robertson Ltd as a container project consultancy in 2006 and Webster Robinson People in 2013 to develop ideas on coaching and leadership in the container and logistics fields.

Alan started his career in Overseas Containers Limited (OCL) with positions in trade policy for Pacific Basin and Africa trades, fleet operations for the South African and Indian Ocean service before leading the customer service team for the North Atlantic trade. Managerial roles followed in UK transport and logistics culminating in the management of terminal operations at Felixstowe and Tilbury.

Nick Williams

Operations & Training Manager

Nick Williams is a highly experienced maritime security instructor upon whom IMSA’s industry-leading training services depend. He is a certificated UK Department for Trade (DfT) and Maritime & Coast Guard Agency (MCA) ISPS Code instructor, an ISPS Code assessor and Security Plan approver.  Since joining IMSA as Chief Training Officer in 2010, he has taken more than 1,000 delegates of all nationalities through the entire range of ISPS Code security courses. He has developed the new Proficiency in Designated Security Duties (PDSD) and Proficiency in Security Awareness (PSA) courses. He is widely regarded as an industry expert on ISPS Code interpretation and application.

Nick has been closely involved with maritime security throughout his adult life, first in the Royal Marines where he worked amongst other operational duties, in naval intelligence in a hostile environment countering terrorism and organised crime.

Prior to joining IMSA he worked for a multinational oil company as a team leader, providing armed security for its personnel and training for the company’s security staff and clients.

Drawing on his operational military background, Nick contributes extensively as IMSA’s operational manager, looking after IMSA Associates deployed around the world.