V.Ships President Roberto Giorgi has kicked off his InterManager Presidency by immediately urging ship owners to place training at the top of their manning agendas, despite having to deal with the effects of the credit crunch on the global shipping industry.

Speaking on the day he was unanimously elected to succeed Ole Stene as head of the world trade association for in‐house and third party managers, Mr Giorgi said the industry must not replicate the mistakes of the downturn in the mid‐1980s when ship owners cut back on all areas of cost including seafarer training.

“Seafarer training has to be a priority for the industry, because the age profile of the average seafarer is increasing and the industry needs to invest in a future that has as its backbone, adequate numbers of well trained seafarers,” he said.

While some in the industry believe the crewing shortage could improve in the medium to long term because of the cancellation of ships on order and an increase in the numbers of ships being scrapped, ship managers were expressing continued concerns over the lack of trained officers for the immediate future.

Mr Giorgi has highlighted his initial key objectives as President by pledging that he intends to:

• Ensure he represents the views of both owner‐managers and third party managers throughout the global shipping industry

• Protect the welfare and well‐being of seafarers, particularly by addressing the issue of criminalisation and by encouraging consistently high standards for training within the industry

• Uphold the values of the new InterManager KPI system to make sure they are adopted fully by the entire industry.

InterManager now has a membership of 73 – both full and associate members – representing a worldwide fleet of some 2,500 vessels and more than 100,000 crew.