Russia is embarking on the building of a new series of ships, the first of which have already been laid down at the Sevmash shipyard in Severodvinsk, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday at a ceremony of handing over the new nuclear submarine Gepard to navymen. According to Putin, in December of this year the first corvette, opening a new series of surface naval ships, will be laid down at St Petersburg. In a year's time it is planned to start building ships of the frigate class. The president noted that prototypes of entirely new technical equipment are being developed to fit out the new ships. The Russian head of state emphasised that marine activities are among Russia's top national priorities. For the first time in Russia work has been started on its maritime doctrine, Putin noted. The overall task of the Russian navy, he said, is to find safer design solutions and to establish an effective emergency and rescue service. Recalling the heroic crew of the Kursk submarine, which sank in August 2000 in the Barents Sea, Putin emphasised that "the sea does not forgive a negligent attitude to it, nor mistakes". Of much importance, Putin said, is the attitude of sailors to work, "their love of the sea, devotion to the navy and the state". But, the president stressed, this is not enough, what is needed is "a sense of responsibility and discipline bordering on pedantry".