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Campaigns and Communications

Campaigns & Communications

Nautilus Telegraph

More than 28,000 copies of the Nautilus Telegraph are printed each month and are distributed to 90 different countries around the world. Following feedback from members, the Nautilus Telegraph was redesigned in 2017 and relaunched as a magazine-style publication in January 2018.

The move from a broadsheet newspaper format to a smaller, magazine layout, has meant the Telegraph is easier to read on the move and the updated design ran concurrently with the Union’s new website redesign to ensure all design was consistent.

To keep up with the faster pace of news reporting, the website has become the focus for the Union’s news communication and the magazine has broadened its focus on features and in-depth investigative reporting.

More than 28,000

copies printed each month

Distributed to 90

different countries


An adaptive and responsive website is of paramount importance for Nautilus International members. In 2018, the decision was taken to build a new website, which better reflected and met the needs of members.

After a scoping, designing, building and optimising process, a new website was launched on International Workers’ Day, on 1 May 2018. The goal was to make it easier for maritime professionals to access key information on the Union, their industry and their employment rights, wherever they are in
the world.

An important change was the improved user journey. The new site makes joining the Union much easier with no unnecessary barriers placed in the way of gaining new members. The new site can be easily accessed on a PC, tablet or mobile and on low bandwidth. The site also restricts the amount of data needed to access the it, so seafarers who have to pay for their access at sea should not incur high costs when staying in touch with their union.

The website has also been built to store a large amount of content and allows members to access breaking news and important content with ease via a clearly designed ‘News & Insights’ landing page. Members can access the latest news, their membership records and request support from the Union instantly. They can get urgent support and advice via the 24/7 messaging and phone line.

Members have access to a personalised area where they can amend and update their records, seek advice and guidance from Union representatives and save money via Nautilus Plus deals and discounts. The new site is responsive and optimised for mobile, tablet and desktop, ensuring information is easily accessible no matter what the format.

Nautilus and its digital agency are continually working to ensure the standard of the website is maintained and remains ahead of the ever-evolving technological landscape. They also plan a full online review, in 2021.

Strategic Campaigns

Nautilus's strategic campaigns activity was launched in 2015 to bring a stronger focus to the campaigning activity of the Union and increase its presence across an increasingly wide spread of media platforms. It delivers on the Strategic Plan objectives of campaigning on key issues affecting members and the sectors in which they work, and providing and enhancing the Union's reputation and image with external bodies and opinion formers.

Job, Skills and the Future Campaign

As part of its commitments, made at the General Meeting in 2015, to be a more campaigning union, Nautilus launched the Job, Skills and the Future initiative across its three branches.

At the launch of the campaign, an animation was produced in Dutch and English, which highlighted the importance of the maritime industry to the public. Titled ‘What have seafarers ever done for us’ in English and ‘Nautilus International kiest voor echte banen in de scheepvaart’ in Dutch, the three-minute animations were viewed over 40,000 times. 

In the UK, the campaign was pursued mainly with the launch of a ten-point ‘Charter for Jobs’. At the end of the four-year campaign, significant progress had been made on each of the Charter points.

Two additional animations were produced, building on the theme and messages of the first animation and highlighting the Charter for Jobs. ‘Securing Britain’s Future as a Global Maritime Leader’ focused on the support government and industry need to provide for a secure maritime future and was viewed over 25,000 times. ‘What has the EU done for the Maritime Industry?’ focused on ensuring that seafarers voices were heard during the Brexit debate and was viewed over 20,000 times.

In Switzerland, the campaign was central to a recruitment drive for the river cruise industry. The Union focused on this sector, where workers were largely unorganised, and terms and conditions were being eroded as companies bought in staff from lower paying countries to force all wages down.

UK Highlights include

  • The UK government calling for a review of Certificates of Equivalent Competency after members persistently contacted their MPs with their concerns around the issue, even after the Department for Transport initially rejected the need for a review.

  • Working with the UK Chamber of Shipping to call for the government to commit an additional £15 million for SMarT Plus.

  • The expansion of Maritime UK to develop ‘one voice’ for the maritime industry and support the development of a national maritime strategy with government.

Campaigning work has therefore focused on increasing the Union’s visibility among river cruise workers, ensuring that potential members understand who Nautilus International is and that we support their Jobs, Skills and Future.

The campaign was used by members in the Netherlands who took action in various sectors, including the successful protests at Paragon/Borr Drilling. Many Dutch companies had begun to cut jobs and replace them with cheaper foreign workers and the Union wanted to stop them replacing ‘good jobs with bad jobs’, thereby affecting the very future of the maritime industry in the country.

Fair Treatment

Nautilus launched a survey to understand if unfair treatment and criminalisation had changed much in the eight years since it first researched the subject, in conjunction with Seafarers’ Rights International. It also wanted to gain an understanding of whether members’ views and experiences of criminalisation in the industry had changed. The survey was completed by over 600 maritime professionals across the Nautilus Federation. The findings can be explored on the Nautilus International website. The Union has also developed a mobile app for members to be able to keep the advice with them at all times and also keep notes of any incidents they are involved in.

Connectivity at Sea

The Connectivity at Sea Campaign called for a shake-up of the industry to provide good quality, low-cost internet for all. A survey of seafarers was completed by nearly 2,000 Nautilus International members and the wider maritime community on their ability to access communications for personal use when at sea. The Union also surveyed shipping companies to gain information about the level of access they give their seafarers, how provision differs for shore and sea-based personal and what reasons they felt there were for not giving seafarers better access to communications. A report on the survey conclusions was produced and achieving ‘low- or no-cost, good quality internet connectivity onboard’ added to the Union’s industrial bargaining objectives.

Automation Report

A report on Automation in Shipping was compiled, following a survey of almost 900 seafaring members from more than 12 different countries in the Nautilus Federation, to understand their views on the issues surrounding new technology and autonomous ships and the potential effect on maritime jobs. It was designed to give a voice to maritime professionals who would be affected by a potential move towards autonomous vessels as the technology is developed. Results showed seafarers are extremely concerned that automation could threaten their roles, with nearly 84% saying they see it as a threat, with respondents also expressing concern for safety at sea should automation come into use. The Nautilus survey was submitted to the International Maritime Organization (IMO) through the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), alongside a paper setting out the Nautilus/ITF posit on on the debate. Both papers were welcomed by the IMO and will be taken into consideration in the ongoing IMO regulatory scoping exercise.

Media Relations

Over the last four years, the communications team has worked with PR agency, Definition (formerly Acceleris) in the UK, to issue more than 100 press releases to local, national and international titles, as well as specialist maritime media.

They generated more than 1,800 of coverage in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland. Around a quarter were across national print and online media, reaching more than 2.7 billion people and helping raise Nautilus’s profile and key messages with influencers, journalists, social commentators and the public.

Increased consumer awareness has also put pressure on governments to act in protecting seafaring interests.


  • In the UK, a feature in the Guardian in 2018 by renowned journalist Polly Toynbee drew attention to the plight of the crews abandoned in the UK onboard the Malaviya Seven and Malaviya Twenty, and increased her knowledge of the maritime sector.

  • In the Netherlands, the industrial action taken against Borr Drilling due to potential job losses generated a large amount of press and TV coverage and helped put pressure on the company to negotiate. Continued media attention and political lobbying eventually succeeded in getting the laws changed on the ability of Dutch-flagged vessels to use private security guards onboard.

  • In Switzerland, media coverage is helping to put pressure on river cruise companies to improve terms and conditions for staff and sign CBAs.

Social Media

Nautilus's content strategy for social media channels has led to an increase in Facebook likes from 4,970 to 6,630 - up a third in less than four years - and from just under 7,025 to 10,300 Twitter followers - up 46%.

More than 2.4 million

users viewing posts from the official Nautilus Twitter account

More than 25,000

Facebook users engaging with the Union's Charter infographics

More than 110,000

views of the Union's animations

Activity has also generated huge reach and helped boost visibility of Nautilus’s brand and key messages to target audiences online.

The department’s activity has included the production of a series of animations to demonstrate the importance of the maritime profession and video content showcasing Nautilus’s senior management team and key Union developments.

It has also used social media to launch targeted stakeholder engagement campaigns, utilising visual components, including specially created GIFs and infographics, to progress objectives outlined in Nautilus’s Charter for Jobs.

Over the past four years, Nautilus's social media activity has resulted in:

  • More than 2.4 million users viewing posts from the official Nautilus Twitter account

  • More than 110,000 views of the Union's animations, which have subsequently been used for educational purposes in colleges and schools in the UK and the Netherlands

  • More than 25,000 Facebook users engaging with the Union's Charter infographics, gaining the Union almost 100 new followers

  • Meetings with high-level decision makers following targeted Twitter activity calling for a change in the system for issuing CECs, culminating in the announcement of a review announced in January 2018

  • Nautilus's official YouTube channel sharing content to more than 2,700 subscribers