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Andrew Edwards

Cheltenham's anti-piracy specialist crack

Andy Edwards spent 14 years in the British Army and served with a number of elite units.

After leaving the Household Cavalry Regiment where he served with the Blues & Royals (RHG/D) Andy completed a recognised close protection course with TASK International and since then has worked all over the world carrying out close protection, residential security, asset protection, surveillance and, more recently the ever growing need for anti-piracy support in the form of maritime security. In addition to the challenges faced in his professional life Andy has also found time to qualify as a personal trainer and is also a keen scuba diver completing his Dive Master qualification with PADI.

His clients have ranged from foreign royal families visiting London and Paris; serving Australian police officers in Afghanistan and contractors from General Electrics in the US, carrying out the rebuild of power stations in Iraq. In 2009 he qualified as a Ship Security Officer and since then has carried out a number of transits through the Gulf of Aden, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

Andy says the best part of undertaking anti-piracy work, apart from the travel, is knowing that he and his team provide security for the maritime crews of the vessels they protect. His latest adventure to Kuwait via the Persian Gulf proved quite interesting as the Iranian Coast Guard paid quite a lot of attention to their vessel as they sailed close to the coast of Iran!

Following reported ransoms of USD3m being paid for the release of the Sirius star, attacks around the Gulf of Aden has seen a substantial increase. Another ship, the Maersk Alabama was attacked by pirates during 2009 (for the second time) but an onboard security team responded with small arms fire and a long range acoustical device (LRAD) which is very painful to the human ear. This caused the pirates to flee however it was alleged that this subsequent attack was in direct revenge for the killing of a number of pirates who had originally attacked the ship in April 2009. The ship did not have any maritime security on board and quickly became hostile with several members of the crew being taken hostage which necessitated the involvement of US Special Forces. The use of maritime security acts as an effective deterrent to pirates with visible signs of security onboard the ship such as armed patrols, razor wire and fire-hoses that run the length of the ship. This investment in maritime security is significantly reducing pirate attacks on vessels.

Andy grew up in North Wales and moved to Cheltenham to work on a security assignment in Oxford. Andy now lives with his wife Jo and his two step-children Oli and Emily in Cheltenham.

He set up St. Michael Security Solutions after working for a number of large organisations and provides security solutions that encompass close protection, residential security, chauffeuring and surveillance and maritime security.

You can contact Andy via his website:

www.saintmichaelsecuritysolutions.co.uk