THE security guard working for a Hereford company who was killed in an attack on an oil tanker has been named.

The strike on the vessel last Thursday night was the first known fatal attack after years of assaults on commercial shipping in the region linked to tensions between Israel and Iran.

The UK has blamed Iran for the attack, and Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter said the country made a “big mistake” when it targeted the Mercer Street tanker, killing the Briton and an unnamed Romanian.

British maritime security firm Ambrey, based in Rotherwas, confirmed the attack, in which a hole was blasted through the vessel’s bridge, killed one of its employees.

A JustGiving page, as reported by the national press, said Fiji-born Brit Adrian Underwood, reported to be a former Army soldier, was killed.

A heartfelt tribute on the page said of the married father-of-one: “In memory of Adrian Underwood, who sadly died when the ship that he was protecting was attacked.

"A humble gentleman, funny and loved by so many.”

The drone attack on July 29 off the coast of Oman led to international condemnation of Iran after the UK, US and Israel pinned the blame on Tehran.

Gen Carter told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “What we need to be doing, fundamentally, is calling out Iran for its very reckless behaviour.

“They made a big mistake on the attack they did against the Mercer Street vessel last week because, of course, that has very much internationalised the state of play in the Gulf.”

He added: “Ultimately, we have got to restore deterrence because it is behaviour like that which leads to escalation, and that could very easily lead to miscalculation and that would be very disastrous for all the peoples of the Gulf and the international community.”

Gen Carter’s comments came shortly after another incident in the waters around Oman.

Hijackers were believed to have seized a vessel off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in the Gulf of Oman.

They subsequently appeared to have left the ship, with the Royal Navy’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) organisation reporting that the incident, which it had described as a “potential hijack” was “complete”.

Ambrey, formed in 2010, works to keep ships safe in vulnerable parts of the seas, mainly off the coast of Somalia and Nigeria.

Speaking in 2019, group managing director John Thompson, who was born in the county, said the company had 80 staff in Hereford, and more than 750 deployed staff in up to 40 countries at a time.

Ambrey is the largest private maritime security company in the world and supports about 500 ships a month, including armed and unarmed guards on vessels.

For the founders, two of whom were still involved in 2019, Herefordshire is a “special place” and they wouldn’t consider being located elsewhere, despite being able to.