Launching Nautilus International’s Crew Connectivity Campaign - providing internet access for seafarers
Maritime Professionals Trade Union Nautilus International supports and campaigns on the behalf of some 22,000 seafarers across the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Its membership base is all encompassing, with onshore and offshore jobs including shipmasters, officers, cadets, ratings, yacht crew and even ship-based medical personnel.
Following the UK government’s announcement that the provision of internet access should be a basic right, Nautilus International set about persuading the government and shipping companies to ensure seafarers have the same experience off-shore as their counterparts have onshore. To raise awareness of this issue, Nautilus conducted a survey of 2,000 seafarers across Europe as well as a number of shipping companies to analyse the scale of the problem.
We were asked to launch and ensure maximum exposure of the campaign to Nautilus’ stakeholders, its diverse membership, the media and wider public.
What we did
To ensure the industry retains and attracts skilled seafarers now and in the future, we worked with the Union and satellite company Inmarsat, to produce a whitepaper, An Investigation into Connectivity at Sea, calling on the UK Government and industry to provide internet access for seafarers.
We led an integrated campaign, which encompassed media relations, social media management, political campaigning and thought leadership. With 95 per cent of everything we import coming to us by sea, we ensured consistent messaging throughout, affirming our reliance on shipping and by association, seafarers. This reliance juxtaposes with the survey’s findings, which despite being at sea for months on end, finds that just 6% of seafarers could video call families back home. The survey also found that connectivity would be a significant driver for seafarers in making employment choices.
In order to build pressure on the government and industry, the whitepaper was launched to the industry at the Sea Trade awards and to consumers the following week to coincide with Seafarers Awareness Week, with tailored tweets sent to MPs to ensure the issue was on their agenda following the general election.
We interacted with MPs from across the country with constituencies near the sea, posting them the whitepaper and asking them on social media what they’re doing to address the issue. This garnered significant interaction online with politicians and constituents alike, and resulted in questions raised in parliament by Bill Esterson MP (Sefton Central).
In excess of 100,000 peoplein key constituencies engaged with the whitepaper on social media, 63,400 people on Twitter and 44,949 on Facebook. The resulting pieces of key regional, trade and national coverage achieved in excess of 430,000 opportunities to see across Seafarers Awareness Week and for every £1 spent that week, we reached just under 1,000 people based on media coverage alone.