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Mr. President

Secretary General,

Secretary General Elect


Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great honour and privilege for me to address the Thirty-third Regular Session of the Assembly of the International Maritime Organization.

In the last biennium, “our Organization” has managed to complete significant work. It has once more demonstrated, in the spirit of cooperation between the IMO membership, that it can effectively and efficiently respond to the needs of the maritime industry and the seafaring community, whilst continuing to facilitate trade.

The work done by IMO, in relation to the efforts for reduction of Green House Gas emissions from ships, is an excellent example of the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, as well as an example of initiative-taking and timely response. The adoption of the revised IMO Strategy, represents a milestone towards the decarbonization of international shipping. It marks the beginning of a long journey, and the Organization has a duty to continue its work on the protection of the environment. There are a lot of challenges ahead, however, we must deliver an environmentally friendly and sustainable international shipping to the next generations by crafting a pragmatic, solid and comprehensive action plan.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Seagoing and shore-based personnel are entrusted with challenging tasks. Without the appropriate education and continuous professional training, our people, on land and at sea, will find it difficult to cope with the changing demands, growing needs and increased regulatory requirements. We must be able to provide seafarers with quality education and training that motivates and empowers them. We also have a duty to encourage new generations to embrace the seafaring profession.

Cyprus will continue to support gender equality. With enhanced diversity and equal opportunity to competent individuals of all genders, the maritime sector can really contribute in meeting sustainable development goals. IMO should continue the work it has amplified during the recent years in this respect. We are particularly proud that a Cypriot is receiving the 2024 IMO Gender Equality Award.

Multilingualism is an essential tool for promoting transparency and the sense of unity among the IMO membership. It is a symbol of respect for the rich diversity of cultures and traditions that make up the global maritime community. We are very pleased that IMO is leading by example in this respect.

Shipping is also undergoing a profound revolution, propelled by the integration of innovative technologies. Modern telecommunication technologies enable enhanced safety in navigation and contribute towards the well-being of the most valuable asset of our industry, our seafarers. The digital transformation is not merely a technological upgrade, it is a paradigm shift that is reshaping how goods are transported across the seas and also how voyages are managed. In the era of digital transformation, ships are becoming “smarter” and more connected. The prospect of autonomous ships, navigating the oceans with minimal human intervention, is no longer a science fiction. As we navigate these seas of change, let us take initiatives and be ready to embrace the opportunities that lie ahead. The Shipping Deputy Ministry of Cyprus, recognizing these changes, is undergoing a digital transformation to be concluded in 2024.

In this effort, we must safeguard world seaborne trade, as it is vital to the socioeconomic development of the IMO membership, especially developing countries, least developed countries, and small island developing states.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Eight years ago, this Assembly entrusted the post of the Secretary-General to Mr. Kitack Lim. I have to say that both the Cyprus Government and myself are extremely pleased for the commendable work he has done. We thank you, dear Kitack.

We also congratulate Mr. Arsenio Dominguez on his election. We have no doubt that he will successfully steer this Organization in the years ahead.

We also recognize and thank the Secretariat for the quality of their work and dedication to assist and support the IMO membership.

Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Before closing, I am pleased to inform you that Cyprus has already deposited its instrument of acceptance of the 2021 amendments to the IMO Convention and our legislative programme includes also the adoption of the 2009 Hong Kong Ship Recycling Convention.

With these thoughts I would like, once more, to express my gratitude for the opportunity given to me to address the Assembly and to wish all of us fruitful discussions during the next days.

Thank you.