Survey Firm Ocean Infinity Buys Private Maritime Security Company

Ambrey is the world's leading provider of embarked PMSCs (Ambrey)

Published Jun 8, 2021 7:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

In an unusual decision to diversify its business, autonomous-vessel operator Ocean Infinity has purchased Ambrey Security, the world's largest private maritime security contractor (PMSC). 

Ambrey - with 16 owned floating armories and transfer vessels, a pool of 1,000 private guards, and an arsenal of 1,350 owned firearms - provides armed security to more ships than any other PMSC. Its personnel have completed more than 17,000 armed transits over the course of the firm's tenure. In addition to physical security, it provides threat intelligence, security consulting services, kidnapping and piracy crisis management, and a full range of insurance broking solutions, including K&R coverage. 

Historically, Ocean Infinity has not operated in the same market. Until at least late 2019, the company described itself as a "seabed intelligence" provider, with a focus on the use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for high resolution sonar survey work - particularly on challenging deepwater missions. The company made a name for itself through repeated success on high-profile, high-difficulty wreck locating jobs, including searches for the lost bulker Stellar Daisy, the Argentine sub ARA San Juan, the battleship USS Nevada and the French sub Minerve. It has also performed less glamorous (but still essential) survey work for offshore wind and offshore oil and gas companies. 

More recently, Ocean Infinity has rebranded itself as a "marine robotics company," broadening its focus to include AI and autonomous vessel operations. It has ordered an "armada" of 15 unmanned deep-sea survey boats, which are designed to drive a sonar survey pattern and deploy unmanned underwater systems - all at lower cost and higher safety than manned platforms. 

This year, the firm has gone on a buying spree. In March, it purchased competitor MMT, a leading marine survey and data analytics provider. In April, Ocean Infinity acquired digital-twin software company Abyssal, which makes AI-enabled modeling tools used by the offshore oil and gas industry. 

On Tuesday, it announced its acquisition of Ambrey, and suggested that its technology could augment Ambrey's traditional security business. "Ocean Infinity’s data and software capabilities will revolutionise Ambrey’s intelligence and insurance services, whilst its robotic surface and sub-surface vessels have huge potential for Ambrey’s shipping and offshore client base," the firm said. 

The objective of the acquisition is to deploy unmanned security solutions. "There is an immediate opportunity for robotic uncrewed vessels to play a huge role in maintaining safe operating environments for our clients," said Ocean Infinity CEO Oliver Plunkett.