The Nautilus International website received more than 970,000 page views in the first eleven months of 2020, an increase of 148% when compared with the same period in 2019. If the trend continues, the website will have received more than a million views in a calendar year for the first time.
Increased news output, the move to a 'digital first' approach and ongoing interest in the coronavirus pandemic were all key factors in driving the record visitor figures. The proportion of overall website visits made up by news content on the English branch section grew from 31% in 2019 to 52% in 2020, with a similar story on the Dutch and Swiss branch sections. These increases came as Nautilus built upon its reputation as one of the key online news sources in the maritime sector.
'Our digital strategy means that we can deliver vital news and information to our members wherever they are,' Nautilus head of communications Helen Kelly said. 'This proved particularly powerful during the pandemic as people sought clarity from a trusted source of information.'
Unsurprisingly, it was stories relating to Covid-19 that drew the largest number of visits, with nine of the top ten stories relating in some way to the pandemic and its implications for maritime professionals.
Most popular English branch web stories of 2020
- With 47,926 views, the most popular story of the year related to the launch of seafarer 'travel certificates' and was published on 17 April. The article confirmed that seafarers could be issued with certificates declaring their keyworker status.
- The designation of seafarers as key workers by the UK government on 20 March was the second biggest story of the year, with 26,437 views. The vital step came after sustained pressure from Nautilus and other transport unions.
- The third most popular story of the year came before the global impact of the pandemic was felt and related to the new US rule improving seafarers' access to shore leave, which came into force in June. The article published on 9 January received 15,816 views.
- The confirmation on 21 May that there would be no mandatory quarantine for seafarers in Britain was viewed 10,004 times. Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson welcomed the move and said that ministers were listening to the Union’s concerns.
- The release of a seafarer quarantine exemption 'certificate' on 11 June by the Union and the UK Chamber of Shipping came following feedback from members arriving in the UK that the Border Force had requested mandatory quarantine. The article has been viewed 7,421 times.
- A very early sign of the issues that the virus could cause came on 6 February, when seafarers who have visited Chinese ports reported that they were being denied off-signing. The story, which received 5,165 views came before a single UK death from the virus had occurred foreshadowed the crew change crisis.
- Reports that an offshore employee received second and third degree burns from alcohol-based hand sanitiser led to a warning about safe use of the gel on 6 May, which was viewed 4,535 times.
- News on 20 March that the UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) would extend medical certificates by up to three months came as a welcome relief to seafarers caught up in the pandemic. There were 3,445 page visits to this article.
- Confirmation on 24 April that essential workers such as seafarers would be eligible for priority Covid-19 testing garnered 3,445 page views.
- Completing the top ten is a report from 9 June that all new arrivals to the UK would be required to fill out a mandatory 'passenger locator' form. The article generated 3,360 views.