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The South Korean navy has assumed command of Combined Task Force 151, the international group of military personnel conducting counterpiracy operations off the eastern coast of Somalia and in the Gulf of Aden, officials stated in a news release.

Rear Adm. Boem-rim Lee took command Wednesday. He replaces Rear Adm. Bernard Miranda, of the Singapore navy, who commanded the task force since January, according to a Combined Maritime Forces news release.

The U.S. Navy created the task force in January 2009 to counter piracy of commercial vessels and fishing boats in the regional waters.

The European Union and NATO operate similar maritime patrols in the region, as do nations that deploy ships independent of the task forces, including China, India, Japan and Russia.

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