The Nautilus secretariat is the collective name for the Union’s paid employees, who are led by an elected general secretary. The secretariat implements Union policy and carries out administration. It is divided into several departments, each focussed on a particular area of the Union’s work.

Nautilus has full-time personnel in London, Wallasey, Rotterdam, Basel and Singapore. To support members in the UK offshore sector, the Union has office space in Aberdeen, where an industrial organiser from the Wallasey office works as required.

For the benefit of members in the yacht sector, Nautilus has partnerships with D&B Services in Antibes, France; Dovaston Crew in Palma de Mallorca, Spain; and International Crew Training in Fort Lauderdale, USA.

Jump down to: Industrial Organising | Recruitment & Membership | Legal | Professional & Technical | Campaigns & Communications | Operations | Finance | Welfare

General secretary

The general secretary is the head of the secretariat, and is the chief executive of the Union. He or she is a member of the Council and responsible to the Council for the general administration of the Union, the conduct of negotiations and supervision of the affairs of the Union.

The general secretary is also responsible for the Union’s finances, and for issuing all notices required under the Rules, including issuing the invitations and agendas for meetings of the Council, General Meetings, National Committees and Branch Conferences, and for keeping minutes of proceedings. Under the Union’s Rules, the general secretary determines the duties of all officials.

There are also two assistant general secretaries, one based in the UK Northern Office and one based in the Netherlands office.

Industrial Organising

The Industrial Organising department represents members’ collective interests in negotiations with their employers, and provides services and support to individual members.

Members should approach the department about employment issues such as unfair dismissal, disciplinary action or grievance procedures, and for support in workplace bullying and harassment cases. The department also shares responsibility with the Recruitment & Membership department for recruiting new members.

Personnel from the Industrial Organising department administer several of the Nautilus member forums, and work closely with lay representatives in the workplace. They also produce regular bulletins to inform members of the latest developments in pay and conditions negotiations with their company. Nautilus members can log into the Members area to read these bulletins on this site.

Members can contact the department to arrange for a visit from a Union official onboard their vessel if necessary, or in their shore-based workplace.

This department also oversees the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) inspectors employed by Nautilus and seconded by the ITF. ITF inspectors visit seafarers onboard ship to ensure that their contracts and conditions of employment are in line with international legislation and union agreements.

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Recruitment & Membership

The Recruitment & Membership department is tasked with encouraging all eligible maritime and inland waterways professionals to become members of the Union. This is done via recruitment campaigns and college induction sessions. Colleagues from the Industrial Organising department also carry out recruitment work, in partnership with the Recruitment & Membership team, when they visit ships and company offices.

Another important role of the Recruitment & Membership department is to handle members’ enquiries, process membership applications and maintain the database so that members’ monthly payments are debited from their accounts.

Training courses for members – such as the regular courses for lay representatives – fall under the remit of the department, as does member retention.


Staffed by qualified lawyers, the Legal department works closely with colleagues in the Industrial Organising department on employment law cases – providing advice and supporting members if their employment dispute has been escalated to an Employment Tribunal (in the UK). The Legal department also supports members in obtaining compensation for work-related injury or illness

Another important role for the department is providing members with advice following a maritime incident – offering ongoing support with representation, certificate protection and formal investigations. Wherever they are in the world, members can use the Nautilus legal directory to contact their nearest affiliated lawyer after an incident, whose services are offered as part of the Union’s membership package. To see the Nautilus legal directory, log into the Members area of this site.

Members of the Legal department also attend high-level meetings at global, European and domestic level providing input into proposals for new conventions and legislation.

Some of the services offered or coordinated by the Legal department are available to members’ close family as well as to the members themselves. Nautilus members can find out more about these services by logging into the Members area of this site.

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Professional & Technical

The Professional & Technical department works on behalf of members to ensure that high standards of safety, training and certification are maintained in the industry.

The department participates in the drafting of regulations at the highest level – representing maritime professionals at the International Labour Organisation and International Maritime Organisation. Professional & Technical personnel also sit on a range of national and European standard-setting bodies.

The department acts as a repository of maritime expertise for the rest of the Union, and draws on regular input from the Professional & Technical Forum, in which Nautilus members contribute their own knowledge and engage in debate.

Campaigns & Communications

The Campaigns & Communications department is best known for producing the Union’s monthly newspaper, the Telegraph, which reports on the Union’s activities and offers a wide range of shipping news, comment, features and reviews.

In addition to producing the Telegraph, the department is responsible for the Union’s campaigns and publicity work. This includes:

  • producing print and online publications such as leaflets, newsletters and reports
  • managing and developing the Nautilus website, intranet and social media output
  • carrying out and analysing Union surveys
  • dealing with media enquiries
  • lobbying and public campaigning
  • overseeing the Union’s corporate branding
  • producing Nautilus merchandise 


The Operations department is the backbone of Nautilus, providing essential support services throughout the organisation. This department is responsible for planning and organising the Union's General Meeting and the Branch Conferences in each country.

Operations includes the Central Services team, who deal with the Union’s mail, manage the telephone switchboard and distribute Nautilus publications to members who request them. There is also an IT support team, who manage the Secretariat’s computers, networks and phone systems across all the Union’s sites.

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All activities related to finance, accounts and budgets are handled by the Finance department. They are responsible for every account held by the Nautilus International group, including the finances of the Nautilus Welfare Fund.

The primary functions of the Finance department are to manage annual statutory accounts and returns, and take the organisation through all statutory audits. The department also prepares, monitors and evaluates the annual budget, collects Nautilus members’ subscriptions, manages the payroll for the Secretariat, processes and pays all invoices and deals with the Union’s tax obligations.


In the UK arm of the Nautilus secretariat, the Union has a Welfare department providing accommodation and support services to retired seafarers via the Nautilus Welfare Fund charity. In the Netherlands, the Union's welfare work has a different focus, and a member of staff is dedicated to visiting ships to ensure the welfare of members and other serving seafarers.

Welfare-related work is also carried out by other personnel throughout the secretariat - for example by conducting surveys and producing reports on the standards of living at sea, or by acting to ensure that ships meet the requirements of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006.

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