A MARITIME security firm which provides armed protection against pirates has joined a select group of accredited companies.

Neptune Maritime Security, which is based in Poole and was set up by two former members of the Special Boat Service, is one of a small number of companies to achieve membership of shipping association BIMCO.

Neptune, founded in 2009, gained membership after being accredited with a new industry management standard, the ISO PAS (28007).

The company, which also has offices in Dubai, Tokyo and Singapore, was instrumental in developing the new certification, which shows that a company is able to conduct operations safely and has the correct governance.

General manager Ian Simpson, an ex-army commando with 31 years of service, chaired the Accreditation and Standards Group of the industry’s Security in Complex Environments Group, which contributed the drafting the standard. Mr Simpson said: “As a leading private maritime security company, we have been at the forefront of driving up standards in the industry.”