(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 4 paras)
By Oh Seok-min
SEOUL, April 6 (Yonhap) -- Vice Adm. Boo Suk-jong, chief of the military support directorate at the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was designated Monday as the new Navy chief after being promoted to the four-star rank, the defense ministry said.
Boo, 56, was tapped to replace Sim Seung-seob, who took office in July 2018, and President Moon Jae-in will officially appoint him following Cabinet deliberations on Tuesday, according to the ministry.
He was commissioned as an ensign in 1986 and has served in key naval roles, including commanding the 2nd Fleet and as head of the Naval Academy.
In 2011, the officer led South Korea's Cheonghae Unit on an anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden off Somalia, and took part in the rescue operation for the country's 11,500-ton Samho Jewelry freighter and its 21 crew members from Somali pirates.
"As an expert in the field of maritime maneuvers and joint military operations, he is equipped with commanding capabilities and professionalism needed to ensure a firm readiness posture under the current security circumstances on the Korean Peninsula," the ministry said in a release.
Boo is also noted for his ability to lead defense reform.
The replacement comes as the Navy has come under fire for successive security breach incidents recently.
In March, two civic activists cut barbed-wire fences and trespassed on a naval compound on the southern island of Jeju. The Navy also belatedly disclosed another case that happened earlier this year in which a mentally ill man got into the Jinhae Naval Command in the southeastern city of Changwon without being stopped.
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