Voice of the maritime industry

Nautilus International is the voice of maritime professionals, at sea and ashore. We have a say on all the major issues affecting our members at national, European and global levels.

What we say is rooted in the concerns of our members – and we make sure that these are taken to the very highest levels.

Shipping is often referred to as an invisible industry, with seafarers being out of sight and out of mind. With our strong and solid membership made up of maritime professionals from every sector of the industry – both at sea and ashore – Nautilus is uniquely placed to bring critically important subjects to the attention of authorities at national and global level.

As a complex global industry, shipping presents a huge regulatory challenge. Nautilus works hard to uphold high standards in all aspects of maritime operations, and the Union is involved in high-level discussions and decision-making forums that seek to ensure a 'level playing field' to prevent unfair competition from operators who flout the rules.

We have a say in shaping the standards that govern the way the industry works, health and safety, and the working conditions of employees. We engage with governments, regulators, other industry bodies, and United Nations agencies with the aim of delivering quality maritime operations run by well-trained professional staff who get the pay and conditions that they deserve.

International Maritime Organisation (IMO)

The IMO, a specialised agency of the United Nations, is the global standard-setting authority for the safety, security and environmental performance of international shipping. Nautilus works with national IMO delegations, and with the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the International Federation of Ship Masters' Associations (IFSMA), to ensure that the interests of maritime professionals are properly represented at the IMO.

We attend IMO committees, sub-committees and working groups to highlight 'human element' issues at the IMO and to keep issues such as safe manning, fatigue and training high on the agenda. Nautilus has been actively engaged in the work to revise the Standards of Training, Certification & Watchkeeping (STCW) Convention – and we played a pivotal role in securing the successful introduction of STCW certification for electrotechnical officers (ETOs).

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

The ILO is also a specialised United Nations agency. It sets global standards for working conditions and employment rights, and seeks to enhance employment opportunities, improve social protection and to strengthen dialogue on work-related issues.

Nautilus was a major player in the development of the ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006 (MLC), which aims to provide a 'bill of rights' for seafarers by setting decent living and working conditions for all seafarers, and to prevent unfair competition through the exploitation of crew members. The Union continues to work to ensure that the Convention is enforced across the world and that it is further enhanced to provide additional protection for seafarers.

International Bargaining Forum (IBF)

The International Bargaining Forum (IBF) was established in 2003 to introduce an innovative collective bargaining mechanism for negotiating the pay and conditions of seafarers on ships covered by ITF Special Agreements. Nautilus is an active member of the union side of the forum, ensuring that members' interests are reflected in the discussions.

As well as addressing pay and conditions, the IBF considers international 'warlike' and 'high risk' agreements for seafarers on ships going through regions affected by piracy or other threats, and covers welfare provision and funding for the recruitment and development of seafarers from around the world.

European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF)

Nautilus is a major player in the ETF – a pan-European organisation which brings together transport trade unions from the European Union, the European Economic Area and other central and eastern European countries. Nautilus has a major input into ETF initiatives in such areas as recruitment and organisation of inland navigation workers, lobbying over state aid rules for the shipping industry, and projects for maritime career-mapping and tackling bullying and harassment.

National organisations

Nautilus works hard in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland to protect national standards for the training and employment of members, and for the regulation of the shipping and inland navigation sectors. The Union is represented on many government-industry bodies and advisory groups, providing specialist input into policy-making committees.

At national level, Nautilus ensures that the voice of the maritime professional is heard when decisions are made on such critical issues as medical standards, frameworks for training and qualifications of seafarers and boatmen, and tax relief for seafarers. When appropriate, we work alongside shipowner organisations on matters of mutual interest, and we routinely lobby national governments on the development of new regulations, as well as the application and enforcement of current standards.

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