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Nautilus resolutions: the pathway to policy

11 March 2024

When Nautilus members vote in favour of a motion at the General Meeting, the motion becomes a resolution – official policy to be implemented by the Union. The hard work then starts of in-depth research into the ideas in the resolution and discussions at the Nautilus Council about how the Union is to meet the resolution's goals

In this special report, we are exploring how Nautilus is taking these first steps for one particular resolution agreed at the 2023 General Meeting: Tackle Flags of Convenience and Grow Domestic Shipping

The text of the motion is below, and the linked articles – What's the problem with flags of convenience and Considering cabotage for Nautilus nations – show how the Union has been looking at principles and examples of good practice to help inform the decisions of the Council

If you would like to respond to any of the ideas presented here, please email

Tackle Flags of Convenience and Grow Domestic Shipping – a resolution from the 2023 Nautilus General Meeting

This General Meeting commends the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) on the 75th anniversary of its flags of convenience (FoC) campaign.

This General Meeting condemns the continued proliferation of FoCs that often means low wages, poor onboard conditions, and long periods of work without proper rest, leading to stress and fatigue for workers onboard. The Covid-19 pandemic exposed the worst aspects of many FoCs as seafarers were denied repatriation, with little or no assistance from flag states, due to lockdowns – leading to the 'crew change crisis'.

This General Meeting calls on the UK, Dutch, Swiss and other like-minded governments to work together at the International Maritime Organization to instigate a global review of ship registration practices and reinforce Article 91 of the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS), which requires a genuine link between the shipowner and the country of registration.

The review should include defining the requirement for a genuine link, with the aim of ensuring each state effectively exercises jurisdiction and control in matters administrative, technical and social over ships flying its flag, in accordance with Article 94 of UNCLOS.

This General Meeting also notes the Seafarers' Rights International 2018 report, commissioned by the International Transport Workers' Federation, which discovered that 80% of the world's maritime states have laws protecting local shipping industries – ensuring the retention of skilled maritime workers and the preservation of maritime knowledge and technology; safeguarding fair competition; promoting safety; and bolstering national security. The report notes that the UK and Netherlands are in the minority of countries without such laws.

This General Meeting resolves for Nautilus International to campaign for governments of the UK, Netherlands, Switzerland, and other European states to enact laws with the clear aim of enhancing domestic shipping industries and inland waterways, growing these countries' respective flags and increasing employment and training opportunities for domestic maritime professionals.


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