Ministers, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to be herewith you today, in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, to open the NEVA International Exhibition and Conference on its 25th anniversary and I should like, first of all, to formally thank the hosts and organizers of this special event, on behalf of the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization, Mr. Koji Sekimizu, for giving IMO an opportunity to participate in what I feel will be a most important and productive exhibition and conference. I also wish to convey the IMO cordial congratulations, deepest appreciations and special gratitude to the organizers, sponsors and participants for celebrating quarter-centennial milestone on their noble way of augmenting and worldwide spreading the advanced methodologies, techniques and technologies for modern shipbuilding and efficient and safe shipping.
The IMO Secretariat traditionally participates in this conference aimed at promotion of international shipping and offshore industries, with a view to providing an updated information on the latest achievements in developing standards for safety of international shipping, fishing and offshore developing and for protection of marine environment.
Bearing in mind that NEVA 2015 specifically focuses on development regarding shipbuilding and shipping in the Arctic, I would take this opportunity to declare that, in May 2015, IMO successfully concluded its longstanding work on development of the International Code for Ships Operating in Polar Waters (Polar Code).
I am also glad to note the level of participation at this prestigious event which demonstrates quite clearly that you all recognize the need for a common understanding on the issues that affect the maritime community today. No one can predict exactly what that future will hold, but I am certain that specialised maritime conferences like NEVA will continue to play a pivotal role in serving the maritime industry so that it can meet current and future challenges.
In concluding, I wish a fruitful and successful exhibition and conference to all participants this week and, once again, offer my sincere thanks to the hosts, organisers and their partners for their foresight and vision in bringing us all together.