Strategic plan

This is the Nautilus International strategic plan for 2019-2023.

Our strategic plan reflects the nature of our membership organisation, and the policy issues to which we are committed between General Meetings. The plan is subject to annual review, and it takes account of the views of members  and those of the Union’s employees.

Mission statement

Nautilus International is an independent, influential, global trade union and professional organisation, committed to organising and campaigning for maritime and shipping professionals, delivering high quality services to members, and maritime welfare support.

Our values

We are the Union for maritime professionals, working for the jobs, skills and future of our members at local, national and international level.

  1. Professionalism – we protect and promote respect for our members' jobs, skills and working environment.
  2. Sustainable – we are an agile and financially viable organisation, secure for the future.
  3. Quality – we serve and support the interests of our members to the highest professional standards.
  4. Collectivism – we serve, support and empower our members to stand up for their rights at work, giving maritime professionals a collective voice.
  5. Democratic – we are led by, and accountable to, our members in all aspects of our governance, policies and practices.
  6. Inclusive – we treat people fairly, equally and with respect, we support those under-represented or vulnerable to discrimination.
  7. Welfare – we support maritime professionals, providing protection for members wherever they are in the world and assisting maritime professionals in need.
  8. Fair Employer – we set high standards as an employer, providing fair employment, and attractive career development to all our staff.
The Nautilus International 2030 Vision

The maritime industry has always been global, driving world trade – and maritime transport will remain central to the global economy in the years ahead. However, it is predicted that the next 10 years will see massive change in the maritime and inland waterways transport sectors. The digital revolution promises to change how ships are operated and how they are experienced by their crews.

Automation could lead to lower crewing levels, but an increase in the demand for shoreside workers with seagoing experience. A global shortfall in merchant navy officers has been predicted while around a third of current serving officers in Europe are due to retire in the next 10 years.

Emerging and new sectors such as off shore windfarms and superyachts will continue to mature, and the impact of further automation may lead to job opportunities in yet undefined areas.

Societal views on trade union membership are changing and trade unions must respond and connect with the trade union members of the future. The maritime industry is not immune to these pressures. Nautilus may think it knows what young maritime professionals need and want from a union – for example, do they want protection or are they looking for support and encouragement in career development? Nautilus needs to know. The Union needs to adapt.

Retired seafarers are living longer but many do not have enough financial provision, and many develop long term conditions which limit their independence, including dementia.

Nautilus is focussed and clear about the need to address these changes and adapt to meet the future needs of maritime and shipping professionals. Over the next 10 years Nautilus will make a step change in the services and benefits provided to members and the organising activities undertaken.

In 2009 Nautilus International was launched to be a cross-boundary trade union and professional organisation for maritime and shipping professionals. In the next 10 years the Union will demonstrate the benefit of being One Union in a Global Industry.

Nautilus will be stronger locally, regionally and internationally.

Nautilus International will strive to be the trade union and professional organisation that maritime and shipping professionals are proud to be a part of, which is regarded as essential to join for all entering the industry and all the sectors the Union organises in.


Our Strategic Priorities
  • Organise, campaign, and deliver innovative, high-quality, cost-effective services for our members
  • Grow as One Union, be strong, influential and future-proof in all our maritime sectors
  • Provide high quality welfare services to necessitous seafarers and their dependants

Organise and Campaign

  • Collective bargaining and other industrial work
  • Retention of members
  • Legal protection
  • Individual representation
  • Protecting skills, training and career development for maritime professionals
  • Lobbying for continuous improvement
  • Professional and technical expertise
  • The voice of maritime professionals including in technological developments and specifically automation
  • Ensuring the provision of career advice, coaching and mentoring
  • Expertise in the development of international maritime policies
  • Diversity and inclusivity, including Women in Maritime, young workers and LGBT+
  • Solidarity work and the ILO decent work agenda
  • Protecting the livelihood of our members
  • Continuous improvement and development of member services

Grow and Develop

  • Recruitment
  • Lay rep and activism work
  • Ensuring financial sustainability and viability
  • Develop digital organising
  • Modernising governance and internal structures
  • Staff development and succession planning
  • Strengthening the One Union concept, internally and externally
  • Strengthening the Nautilus Federation
  • A passionate and proactive member of ITF, ETF, IFSMA and other relevant organisations

Support and Welfare

  • Nautilus Welfare Fund
  • Ship visits
  • Support for maritime and shipping professionals
  • Working with other organisations to ensure compliance with the Maritime Labour Convention
  • Welfare to those eligible via our dedicated Charity (Nautilus Welfare Fund) and other related work across the Union
Strategic Objectives 2019 to 2023
  • Strengthen recruitment efforts to recruit even more new members
  • Maximise organising activities and support to retain membership
  • Drive efficiency through collaboration and partnership
  • Modernise, innovate and embrace technology within the Union’s structures, governance and operations
  • Develop staff and the Union's facilities
  • Increase influence and enhance our communications
  • Provide high-quality welfare services to necessitous seafarers and their dependants


Strengthen recruitment efforts to recruit even more new members

We will seek to recruit all maritime and shipping professionals, including trainees,at the point of entry into the industry within our sphere of influence i.e. the UK, NL and CH maritime and shipping industries.

We will build membership by continuing the focus on emerging sectors such as fisheries, large yachts, windfarms.

We will investigate the potential for recruitment in new sectors and undertake research to ensure the Union remains attractive to potential new members.

We will improve membership density in traditional workplaces and those where we have existing Collective Bargaining Agreements.

We will develop partnerships with those who share our goals.

Maximise organising activities and support to retain membership

We will empower our lay representatives so that they can better activate, recruit, support and represent members in their workplaces. 

We will activate and engage our membership by encouraging them to join committees, forums and networks. 

We will deliver the highest quality of service to our members on issues such as employment, pensions, equal opportunities, professional and technical issues. 

We will conduct collective bargaining aimed at the priorities identified by our members and secure real improvements over time in members' pay and overall terms and conditions of employment. 

We will consult with our members at every opportunity and ensure that they are fully informed about activities which are conducted on their behalf. 

We will work to retain our members by demonstrating the value of Nautilus membership. 

Drive efficiency through collaboration

We will strengthen the Nautilus Federation by cooperating and coordinating with other like-minded maritime unions. 

We will maintain and develop the Joint Assistance and Support Network (JASON) within the Nautilus Federation. 

We will investigate the potential for collaborating with likeminded organisations to achieve economies of scale and develop new services, including via the development of 'union hubs'. 

We will develop and grow strategic partnerships focused on delivering better value services to our members. 

Modernise, innovate and embrace technology within the Union’s structures, governance and work

We will modernise the Union's Rulebook in order to reduce the costs of governance whilst retaining members’ democratic involvement. 

We will lobby for changes in national laws where necessary to harness the opportunities for digital innovation. 

We will exploit technology and innovation to enhance the governance of the Union and reduce the need for physical meetings without compromising member engagement. 

We will seek to establish a new digital platform for membership. 

We will improve internal coordination to provide the most effective and efficient service to members. 

We will continuously highlight the benefits of membership to members and non members. 

We will maintain the financial strength of the Union and ensure the Union is fit for the future. 

We will exploit the benefits of technology by maximising the use of the membership database, website and other online services. 

We will develop online communications and harness the use of the internet for publishing content.  We will move towards digital-only communications. 

Develop staff and facilities

We will continue to develop and train our staff and drive effective succession planning to ensure continued strong, stable and strategic leadership of the organisation. 

We will promote secure and fulfilling employment. 

We will seek innovative ways to ensure the organisation is fit for the future and continuously provides value for money for members. 

We will maximise the use of the Union's assets by locating staff in the most cost effective, properly resourced and strategically located offices. 

We will encourage flexible and remote working, utilising videoconferencing and digital technology. 

Increase influence and communication

We will increase our influence through lobbying and representation on a local, national and international level to improve the lives of maritime and shipping professionals. 

We will be the voice of the maritime and shipping professional to maintain and enhance the high international standing of the profession and of our members' qualifications and high training standards. 

We will enhance the reputation and image of Nautilus International with members, potential members, external bodies and opinion formers. 

We will communicate with members on Nautilus activities and inform them about issues of relevance and interest in the wider maritime and shipping sector. 

We will raise the profile of the maritime and shipping industry and the work of our members to legislators, relevant external organisations, and the general public. 

We will promote equality, inclusion and diversity in the maritime and shipping industry. 

We will undertake strategic campaigns on key issues affecting members. 

Provide high quality welfare services to necessitous seafarers and their dependants

We will work in partnership with maritime charities and organisations, statutory bodies and other organisations, to identify and meet the welfare needs of seafarers, wider maritime and shipping professionals, ex-seafarers and their dependants. 

Our Commitment

This Plan will be overseen by the Council of Nautilus International with a mid-term review due in 2021. The Council's Report to the General Meeting in 2023 will form the basis of the final review and the Plan will be updated for that General Meeting.

Resolutions arising from the 2019 General Meeting and Branch Conferences in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 will be attached as annexes to this Plan as they also dictate the work priorities of the Union in the four-year cycle.

Department plans will be produced and also added as annexes to this report. They will highlight how each cluster will ensure that the Union’s overall objectives are met.

Callout Image

Interactive report for GM2019

An interactive report website outlines the Union's activities on behalf of members over the four years leading up to the General Meeting 2019.

Visit the website using the relevant link below or download a pdf of the report.

Interactive GM report Download the GM pdf

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